NYC Health + Hospital’s Roundtable on lifestyle: “We help people learning how to put healthy food in their plate”

NYC Health + Hospitals and  Office of Ethnic and Community Media held on September 29, 2023, a roundtable to discuss a new  health program called lifestyle medicine program.

Dr. Michelle McMacken and Dr. Itha Harewood have explained what the program is about and answered several questions related to the program.

“Our program is designed to support and make lifestyle choices including exercises, healthy eating, healthy sleep, coping with stress,” Dr. Michelle McMacken executive director of nutrition and lifestyle medicine at NYC Health + Hospitals said. “ We help people learning how to put healthy food in their plate like fruits and vegetables, bean, etc.”

The program was launched a month ago and will help prevent medical conditions like pre – diabetic, type 2 diabetic, obesity, high blood pressure, and heart diseases that impact the communities.  According to Dr. Itha, the program that was started in the Bronx will be launched in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan,  and Staten Island as well and 4,000 people will benefit from the program per year.

Answering a question regarding language barriers, Dr. McMacken said that “ our program is available for everyone who speaks specific language; we have one and one component in our program, and we use interpreters; our material is translated to Spanish, French, Bengaly and other languages.”

There was a question related to organic food which might be expensive for some people. “ Fresh food and vegetables do not  necessarily mean organic food; all fruits and vegetables we consume benefit our health,”  said Dr. McMacken. “ We have coupons for farmer markets where all those foods are organics.”

According to Drs.  McMacken and Harewood, the program is focused on adult population who have heath insurance and free food is delivered to them.  “ We work with those who do not have health insurance to see if they do qualify for health insurance,” they said.

How to get to the program? according to Drs.  McMacken and Harewood, they work with community advisory boards to identify community-based organizations, and flyers with contact information are distributed.

 The program also has 2 phases. The first phase is called action phase which is a six-month period where people meet individually with doctors. There are also weekly groups classes  in person and virtually and the second phase is called support phase.

“This program means a lot for all the communities. I did the program, and my health has changed,” Jose Bayona, executive director, Mayor’s office of ethnic and community media, said.

Bazona Barnabe Bado

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