A Summer of Health, Nutrition
By Mary Frost
BROOKLYN BRIDGE — Dozens of high school students waving signs proclaiming “Live Well, Eat Healthy” and “I Will Continue To Try New Things” marched across the Brooklyn Bridge on Wednesday, spreading the word about health and fitness.
The students are members of HealthCorp, a program that helps teens to make lifestyle changes to enhance their health. HealthCorp, co-founded by famous heart surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz and his wife Lisa, fights obesity and other ills that plague American youngsters.
The walk was the idea of Michele Sossou, 16, a participant in the Teen Battle Chef program, which is affiliated with HealthCorp and was organized by Teen Battle Chefs from schools across New York City. Sossou, a senior at Mott Haven High School in the Bronx, worked as a summer intern at the Ridgewood Youth Market in Brooklyn, where she conducted cooking demonstrations and encouraged people to try new foods and experiment with international recipes.
Many of the students in Teen Battle Chef — a nutritional cooking program from FamilyCook Productions — live in neighborhoods that lack access to fresh produce. They have spent the summer picking up culinary skills and developing an appreciation for diverse, healthy and sustainably produced food.
“We’re trying to get people to come together, stay fit and get healthy,” said student participant Destiny Martin, who said she had learned about nutrition and good health over the summer as part of her summer internship.
“Healthy eating is not just eating vegetables,” said high schooler David Seraphin. “There are other things that go into healthy eating, like taking out fat from food. In a way, healthy eating is what you make it.”
Ms. Martin added, “We also have activity projects. Mine is walking one hour a day four days a week.” Other students made diet changes like eating a fresh salad every day, she said.
FamilyCook Productions founder and author Lynn Fredericks developed the Teen Battle Chef program. “We’re all very proud of our students,” she told the Brooklyn Eagle. “They do internships all summer and come up with action projects. Michele’s project was this walk. Now they’re headed for a healthy potluck dinner at DeKalb Market in Downtown Brooklyn.”
Amy Barone, director of communications for HealthCorps, told the Brooklyn Eagle on Thursday that the dinner made by the Teen Chefs had been delicious. “They made ratatouille, a variety of rice dishes with vegetables, chicken with grilled vegetables, fresh fruits – it was all very tasty. Two chefs made a frittata with Swiss chard and green peppers that had been grown at the DeKalb Market. They explained the vitamins and minerals in the dish and how they had prepared it.”