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“What would it be like if you didn’t have bones?” asks a Cedars-Sinai community health educator to a group of second-graders.
Many small hands shoot up.
“You couldn’t bend your arms or knees,” one student answers.
“You wouldn’t have any energy,” another says.
“You’d have nothing to hold your body up,” says a third.
The question about bones relates to the word of the day: calcium. The children go on to learn about how calcium builds strong bones and teeth, the healthiest choices in the “Dairy” food group and where these products come from.
This kind of discussion is typical in the hour-long Healthy Habits for Kids workshops Cedars-Sinai has offered in Los Angeles-area schools since 2005. Part of the Medical Center’s broad-based effort to fight obesity, the 10-week Healthy Habits program teaches children how to eat well and do physical activity regularly, with the goal of instilling these habits at an early age for a lifetime of healthier living. The program reaches children and their families in a growing number of elementary schools throughout the year, primarily in underserved neighborhoods of Mid-City Los Angeles.
Healthy Habits for Kids is one of the hundreds of community benefit programs that reflect Cedars-Sinai's century-long commitment to helping the community grow stronger and healthier. Identifying the greatest needs and partnering with community organizations to bring vital services to those who are most vulnerable is a crucial part of Cedars-Sinai's mission as a nonprofit academic medical center. Vital Community Benefit services include free or low-cost health services, ongoing education programs, immunizations and screening for various medical conditions, as well as research and education that expand the horizons of medical knowledge.