The Children’s Health and Socioeconomic Implications Project
Our continuing goal at the Children’s Health and Socioeconomic Implications (CHSEI) Project of Mount Sinai Heart is to promote cardiovascular health in our city’s tiniest hearts by providing children with the knowledge and skills to avoid cardiovascular risk factors throughout their lives. Our pioneering educational project will administer a heart-health curriculum called the Salud Integral) (SI!) Program to children ages 4 to 5 covering the topics of healthy diet, body and heart, physical activity, and emotional management. Our team will train teachers on the materials and provide monitoring and support throughout the four-month school-based intervention.
This project strives to reduce the epidemic of childhood obesity and to better understand how child behavior and environment intersect to contribute to cardiovascular disease in our communities. Growing evidence implicates an unhealthy lifestyle in childhood as a major contributor to health loss and disease in adulthood. By providing comprehensive preventative techniques, including an innovative curriculum unit on emotional management, we want to reduce each child’s future risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes and create a family and community-based “culture of health”.
Putting into action the insights developed over 10 years of Heart Health Education with the SI! Program in Colombia, Spain, and Harlem, New York City, the study aims to provide a comprehensive health curriculum to almost 2,000 kindergartens throughout the five boroughs of New York City. This multilevel health promotion will feature a new implementation design, including a re-intervention at second grade, analysis of the socioeconomic background, and evaluation of teacher motivation and stress. Building on past evidence and experience will serve to improve the sustainability of our Program, encourage scaling-up of health education interventions, and provide much-needed data on the educational environments of New York City schools.
In addition to directly helping children and their families, we are also conducting research. Over time, our investigators will measure the effects of early childhood heart health education through qualitative and quantitative assessment tools. Our ultimate hope is 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.
How We Began
The Children’s Health and Socioeconomic Implications Project began in the winter of 2020 for a pilot study in five New York City public schools. It has expanded to classrooms around the city. However, our background in childhood health interventions goes back much further. CHSEI applies evidence-based practices developed over decades of past research led by our principal investigator, Valentin Fuster, MD, PhD, Director of Mount Sinai Heart and Physician-in-Chief of The Mount Sinai Hospital. 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 successful research findings as one of the top 10 research advances of 2013. After years of further research, Dr. Fuster continues to push for community health and preventative medicine through the work in the Children’s Health and Socioeconomic Implications Project.
Members of the public, organizations and companies can get involved with the CHSEI Project of Mount Sinai Heart by volunteering their time or expertise. For further information, please email us at CHSEI_Study@mssm.edu.
Department of Volunteer Services
The Mount Sinai Hospital
One Gustave L. Levy Place
New York, NY 10029