Health 4 Life (H4L) is a family-centered lifestyle intervention program for overweight children and adolescents at NewYork-Presbyterian. It was established in 2006 in response to the nationwide obesity crisis.
Participants in H4L must be 4-18 years old and have a BMI equal to or greater than the 85th percentile for age and gender. Pediatricians in the NYP Ambulatory Care Network can refer their patients to the program at both the Cornell and Columbia campuses. Participants in H4L come from all five boroughs of New York City but must receive their primary care at one of the NYP-ACN pediatric practices.
Our mission is to provide a safe and supportive environment for 4-18 year-olds and their families who are interested in improved health through healthier diets and increased physical activity.
Participants begin with a clinical visit for a medical/nutrition/psychosocial intake and for a physical fitness assessment. In this setting, individuals meet with the interdisciplinary team of a pediatrician, registered dietitian, social worker, and exercise physiologist. Dietary and exercise goals are discussed and tailored to meet each family’s needs. Clinical appointments are provided both in person and through video visits.
Most participants 7 years and older are given an invitation to join weekly exercise classes led by the team exercise physiologist. During the physical activity portion, the clinical exercise physiologist works on improving participants' aerobic activity, muscle strength and bone strength. In this fun, supportive environment the exercise specialist promotes teamwork, builds confidence, and creates positive attitudes and beliefs towards exercise and movement.
H4L parents and caregivers are offered the opportunity to join nutrition education support groups led by staff registered dietitians. During this 10-week program parents meet, share ideas, and receive support from other parents, as well as to delve deeper into nutrition topics with the registered dietitian.
The Heath4Life program works to empower participants to make healthier lifestyle choices for themselves and the whole family.