Elmhurst Hospital launches Healthy Lifestyle Program to tackle pandemic-induced health concerns

Photo Feb 22 2024, 11 59 28 AM
Photos by Lloyd Mitchell

NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst has launched a healthy living program that aims to promote the mental and physical well-being of residents.

The initiative, which kicked off Feb. 22 and is called the Healthy Lifestyle Program, showcases the importance of clean eating, physical activity and mindfullness.

Led by Dr. Larissa Polanco, the initiative features a range of activities designed to encourage healthy habits particularly among 8- to 17-year-olds. The program includes food demonstrations highlighting the importance of nutritious eating; movement sessions to keep participants active; and mindfulness exercises for stress relief.

Photos by Lloyd Mitchell

Speaking about the program’s inception, Dr. Polanco noted its genesis during the COVID-19 pandemic, a period that saw concerning trends as people became less active. “During the pandemic, we noticed weight gain and lethargic behavior from our patients. This was a way to keep them active,” Dr. Polanco explained.

Elmhurst, designated as an area with high food insecurity, faces unique challenges regarding access to nutritious foods. Dr. Polanco emphasized this point, stating, “People wonder, ‘I’ve been doing everything right, but I am gaining weight.’ It’s because they’ll get high cholesterol and fatty foods.”

Carmen Britez, a representative from Health First, underscored the commitment of both the organization and Elmhurst Hospital to promote community and children’s health. “We and Elmhurst Hospital are committed to community and children’s health,” Britez affirmed.

Elmhurst Hospital held a physical and mental wellness program.Photos by Lloyd Mitchell

As the program progresses, Dr. Polanco expressed her satisfaction with the positive changes observed among the participants. “I love seeing the kids’ confidence and self-esteem grow,” she remarked, highlighting the broader impact of the initiative beyond physical health.

The healthy lifestyle program at the hospital signifies a proactive approach to addressing the multifaceted health challenges faced by communities, particularly in the wake of the pandemic. With a focus on holistic well-being, the initiative aims to empower families and children to adopt sustainable healthy habits for the long term.

Photos by Lloyd Mitchell


Photos by Lloyd Mitchell
Photos by Lloyd Mitchell