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BMC Receives $1.57M From New Balance Foundation To Expand Nutrition And Fitness For Life Efforts To Reduce Obesity: Fantastic Kids & Medical Education

October 29th 2008

Boston, MA -

The Nutrition and Fitness for Life (NFL) program at Boston Medical Center (BMC) has received a gift of $1.57 million over three years from The New Balance Foundation to expand its FANtastic Kids program in the greater Boston area.

Once evaluated by a primary care physician, youth age 8-12 years old with a Body Mass Index at or above the 85th percentile who require convenient, community-based physical fitness and nutrition education opportunities in supportive environments, can be enrolled in the NFL's FANtastic Kids program. This peer-leader lifestyle program launched in 2005 and operates at two Boston HealthNet Community Health Centers, DotWell (encompassing both Dorchester House Multi-Service Center and Codman Square Health Center) and Mattapan Community Health Center, as well as the Roxbury and Dorchester YMCAs. Youth are not required to be YMCA members in order to participate in FANtastic Kids located at a YMCA.

The gift from The New Balance Foundation, a partner since 2004, will support a FANtastic Kids expansion plan that will take the program to four additional YMCA branches over the next three years, beginning with the Oak Square YMCA located in Allston-Brighton in January 2009.

"During the academic year, BMC will offer two 12-week FANtastic Kids sessions targeting 15-20 obese youth ages 8-12 at each site, reaching a total of 555 to 740 obese youth over the next three years," said Vivien Morris, NFL director of community initiatives. "Each session will include two after-school days of nutrition education and physical activity for youth with the FANtastic curriculum, as well as one after-school day for family coaching."

The gift also will support the NFL's medical education efforts aimed at training primary care physicians to assess and treat overweight children. "It will help integrate obesity medicine at all level of training from medical school to the primary care provider's office, provide options in the community setting, as well as help the dissemination of information via a variety of mechanisms," said Carine Lenders, MD, MS, medical director of the program.

"The Foundation's major focus is the prevention of childhood obesity and we seek to fund programs that help overweight children and put them on a path towards a healthier future," said Anne Davis, managing trustee, New Balance Foundation. "Twenty percent of children in Boston are currently overweight and another 25 percent are at risk. We are proud to support Boston Medical Center, the expansion of FANtastic Kids and an exciting new partnership with the Greater Boston YMCA."

"Without this vital intervention program, kids would lose the foundation on which to build healthy nutrition and lifestyle choices," said Barry Zuckerman, chief of pediatrics at BMC. "The gift from the New Balance Foundation will provide support for the ongoing work of the program as well as allow us to launch an expansion plan in order to reach more of this vulnerable population.

"Many obese children reject school-based physical fitness, after-school athletics and nutrition programs as they often feel vulnerable to ridicule," Zuckerman continued. "The YMCA is the largest provider of child care in the city, serving one in six Boston children. In addition to a shared commitment to healthy youth, the YMCA also serves at-risk youth, the majority of whom are low-income minorities in the same Boston neighborhoods that BMC serves. Offering FANtastic Kids at these locations provides a program tailored to the specific needs of this special ss_Group of youth."

The mission of the Nutrition and Fitness for Life (NFL) program at BMC is to decrease disparities by improving access to health care, developing initiatives in the community, participating in advocacy efforts, and conducting educational and research activities to reduce obesity and prevent type 2 diabetes mellitus.

In 2004, The New Balance Foundation awarded Boston Medical Center (BMC) a $1 million grant over three years. The gift supported the expansion of BMC's Nutrition and Fitness for Life Program (NFL) into the Boston HealthNet community health centers that partner most closely with BMC.

About BMC

Boston Medical Center is a private, not-for-profit, 625-licensed bed, academic medical center affiliated with Boston University School of Medicine. Committed to providing high-quality health care to all, the hospital offers a full spectrum of pediatric and adult care services including primary and family medicine and advanced specialty care with an emphasis on community-based care. Boston Medical Center offers specialized care for complex health problems and is a leading research institution. Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine are partners in the Boston HealthNet—15 community health centers focused on providing exceptional health care to residents of Boston. For more information, please visit

About The New Balance Foundation:

The New Balance Foundation is a charitable foundation established and funded by New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc. The Foundation s mission is to support effective charitable organizations which perform humanitarian services for the betterment of our children and our local community. For more information, please visit

About New Balance New Balance, headquartered in Boston, MA has the following mission: Demonstrating responsible leadership, we build global brands that athletes are proud to wear, associates are proud to create and communities are proud to host. New Balance employs more than 4,000 people around the globe, and in 2007 reported worldwide sales of $1.63 billion. For more information please visit

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Amy Vreeland

Maria Pantages

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