NEW YORK, NY, May 21, 2014 – Healthfirst and the American Heart Association continue the American Heart Association Teaching Gardens Program in select Queens public school sites to fight the epidemic of childhood obesity. PS 155 in South Ozone Park and PS 95 in Jamaica will have new Teaching Gardens housed on school grounds this spring. The educational initiative teaches children how to plant seeds, nurture growing plants, harvest produce and ultimately understand the value of good eating habits.
Both schools will hold Plant Day events with a special ribbon-cutting ceremony where students will plant seeds in garden boxes to launch the start of the Teaching Gardens. Plant Days are scheduled as follows:
The PS 95 Plant Day will be held during the school’s 100th anniversary celebration street fair.
The Healthfirst and American Heart Association Teaching Garden combines nutrition education with garden-based learning to promote the consumption of more fruits and vegetables by children. Studies show programs like this encourage healthy behavior and lead to positive attitudes towards healthier eating.
Implemented at PS 155 in spring 2013, a main goal of the initiative is to reduce childhood obesity rates while instilling in children the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle. Positive feedback from PS 155 students, parents and teachers on their experience with the program led to its extension into PS 95 in Jamaica.
“The overwhelming response from PS 155 students expressing their enthusiasm about eating vegetables and leading a healthy lifestyle reinforces the importance of the Teaching Gardens program and the immense impact it has on children’s attitudes towards eating healthy,” said Susan Beane, MD, Healthfirst Vice President and Medical Director. “By reaching children at an early age, we are able to influence healthy lifestyle practices to help reduce childhood obesity rates, especially in the New York City metropolitan area. We look forward to expanding the Teaching Gardens into our Brooklyn service area next.”
Healthfirst is a not-for-profit managed care organization with more than one million members of the diverse communities of downstate New York. We are ranked the #1 Quality Medicaid Plan in NYS. We treat our Medicaid, Family Health Plus, Child Health Plus, Medicare Advantage, and Managed Long Term Care members with the same care and attention we would want for our own families. We are also a proud participant in NY State of Health: The Official Health Plan Marketplace. For more information, visit the company’s website at www.healthfirst.org.
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – America’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit www.heart.org or call any of our offices around the country.