Assemblyman Cusick and Borough President Molinaro - Steppin' Up for Good Health

February 11, 2010

Assemblyman Michael Cusick and Borough President James Molinaro joined to honor fifth-grade students from each elementary school who participated in the "Steppin' Up for Good Health" Childhood Obesity Challenge.

The two presented certificates to some four dozen students during an award ceremony in the Michael J. Petrides School, Sunnyside.

More than 5,000 fifth-graders from public, parochial and private schools participated in the program.

One student from each school was selected to represent his or her respective school at the evening ceremony.

Each principal was sent a letter requesting that student participants write an essay about what the program has meant to them. Their essays were on display at the event.

Molinaro and Cusick (D-Mid-Island) initiated the program in response to reports of the ever-increasing epidemic throughout the country of childhood obesity. On Tuesday, First Lady Michelle Obama unveiled an anti-childhood obesity drive she is leading. Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled; nearly one-third of children in America are now overweight or obese.

The "Steppin' Up" program challenged fifth-graders to increase the steps they take each day. They were given pedometers funded by Northfield Bank Foundation, and a chart to record the steps they take while at school. They were asked to also encourage their family members and friends to join them in the health program.

Joining Molinaro and Cusick at the ceremony were representatives of the Visiting Nurse Association of Staten Island and Northfield Bank Foundation. Two students, Genevieve Iacoviello of St. Mary's School, Rosebank, and Nicholas Handog of PS 22, Graniteville, were selected to read aloud their essays.

The program concluded with an aerobics demonstration by Elaine Gil, director of Bubbles Playhouse, Grasmere. Healthy refreshments were served in the Petrides cafeteria.