Charles Lafitte Foundation Works to Combat Childhood Obesity Through Staten Island University Hospital Grant

In a recent study, The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene found that nearly half of the children in public elementary schools are overweight and 25% are classified as obese.  In response to what is being called a national obesity crisis, The Charles Lafitte Foundation is pleased to announce the presentation of grant funds to The Staten Island University Hospital to underwrite the participant fees in the hospital’s Comprehensive Childhood Obesity Program for 40 children.

For many families the cost of participation, combined with the fact that most insurance companies will not cover registration fees, prevents many at-risk children from entering the program.  The Charles Lafitte grant will provide funding to support those who cannot afford to participate in the program.

“The Comprehensive Childhood Obesity Program targets several areas in which our foundation has a specific interest, including children’s advocacy and medical research,” says Suzanne Citron, co-founder of the Charles Lafitte Foundation along with her husband, CEO of Vonage Jeffrey Citron. “The program impressed us with its unique approach to obesity through the combination of different elements of physical and mental health.”

The Comprehensive Childhood Obesity Program targets children and youth with a body mass index of 95% and above. The year-long program consists of four main sections: medical care, dietary planning, exercise therapy and psychosocial care.

The dietary care section will emphasize small changes in diet and teach preparation of healthful foods.  It also includes regular meetings with a dietitian. The exercise therapy section of the program will develop a suggested pattern of exercises for the children and locate facilities in the community where they can exercise with little or no cost to families.  Finally, the psychosocial section of the program will allow each child and family to meet with a clinical psychologist who will tailor a treatment plan for their specific needs.

Staten Island University Hospital physicians have found that obesity in children often leads to precursors of serious illnesses, such as elevated cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, and serious illnesses like diabetes.  The Comprehensive Childhood Obesity Program has the reduction of risks for such serious illnesses as a major goal.

“I have been personally involved in the program and I am particularly proud of its results” says CEO of Staten Island University Hospital, Anthony C. Ferreri.

“The young people we help will grow into physically and mentally healthier adults, and, one day, they will be able to start their own kids on healthy lifestyles.”

The mission of The Charles Lafitte Foundation is to provide for and support inventive and effective ways of helping people help themselves and others around them to lead healthy, satisfying and enriched lives.  To fulfill this mission, the Foundation acts as grant-maker, innovator and volunteer for four main programs:  Education, Children’s Advocacy, Medical Research and Issues, and the Arts.  For more information, visit


For more information, contact:
Bobbi Schlesinger

Robin M. Santos


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