The Children’s Lifestyle, Diet, and Exercise Intervention Project (THE CHILDREN’s Project)
The goal of the Children’s Lifestyle, Diet, and Exercise Intervention (CHILDREN’S) Project at Mount Sinai Fuster Heart Hospital, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, is to promote cardiovascular health in the tiniest hearts. The CHILDREN’s Project aims to define the cardiovascular health of thousands of New York City elementary school children, looking at both the social and environmental determinants of health.
The project relies on direct and indirect health assessments of children as well as parent questionnaires to better understand the children’s risk of future cardiovascular disease and the factors contributing to this risk. By collecting and analyzing this longitudinal information, we will understand how children’s health changes as they get older and when it is most effective to focus on preventative strategies. We will offer this pioneering initiative to elementary schools throughout New York City’s five boroughs. The CHILDREN’s Project will last from kindergarten through fifth grade, with health assessments taking place in kindergarten, second, and fifth grade.
Growing evidence implicates an unhealthy lifestyle in childhood as a major contributor to health loss and disease in adulthood. We believe that early intervention is the best way to protect children from future disease. While our goal is to formally define the cardiovascular health of elementary school children, we also wish to improve it along the way. For this reason, our study offers selected schools a four-month in-school health education program, integrated into the standard school curriculum. Putting into action the insights developed over 10 years of heart health education in Colombia, Spain, and Harlem, in New York City, the CHILDREN’S study will work with participating schools to implement the program.
To test whether the education program is effective at promoting health, we will split participating schools into two groups: one group will receive health assessments and an education program in kindergarten and second grade; and a second group will receive only the health assessments. We hope not just to instill heart-healthy habits in children, their parents/caregivers, and their teachers, but also to encourage further preventative early childhood health education.
We acknowledge the role that social and environmental factors play in the health of communities. Therefore, we will also analyze factors such as socioeconomic status, teacher characteristics, and environmental pollution to understand how they may affect a child’s health.
How We Began
The CHILDREN’S Project began in the winter of 2020 as a pilot study in five New York City public schools. In the fall of 2022, the full study launched, initially recruiting in Manhattan and the Bronx, with plans to expand to the remaining three boroughs. This is not our first foray into childhood health interventions. The CHILDREN’S Project applies evidence-based practices developed over decades of research led by our principal investigator, Valentin Fuster, MD, PhD. The project builds upon the success of the FAMILIA Project in Harlem and similar programs in Bogota, Colombia, and throughout Spain. The American Heart Association recognized Dr. Fuster's research findings as one of the top 10 research advances of 2013.
Members of the public, organizations, and companies can get involved with the CHILDREN’S Project of Mount Sinai Fuster Heart Hospital by volunteering their time or expertise. For more information about how to participate, please contact the Department of Volunteer Services at:
The Mount Sinai Hospital
One Gustave L. Levy Place
New York, NY 10029
Tel : 212-241-047