Health Department program launches teen peer anti obesity campaign

The city has assembled a team of teens to fight the Big Apple’s obesity problem.

The city assembled a team of teens to fight the Big Apple’s obesity problem with street level campaign.

The health department launched the OurVoiceNYC program Wednesday which involves 100 city teens between the ages 13 to 19 who will hit the streets in Bronx, Manhattan and Brooklyn neighborhoods to educate their peers about their health.

Recent city data found that 11.8% of students under 18 were obese, predominantly black and Latino kids, who are inundated with junk food advertising.

“We know that youth listen to their peers when it comes to messages about their health. As activists for health, our trained youth will speak to their peers about the dangers of sugary drinks and make a difference in their community,” Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said in a statement.

The volunteers will travel the city in a double-decker bus and head to Brooklyn Borough Hall, Yankee Stadium, Adam Clayton Powell Plaza in Harlem, and end at Times Square. At each stop, they will conduct street interviews with other teens about the surge in unhealthy junk food advertising leads to the consumption of those foods and long-term damage.

The health department said kids see 13 food and drink ads on TV a day and food companies increase their ads for products like candy, gum, snacks and sugary drinks in minority communities.

The OurVoiceNYC team also has a Twitter account and use the hashtags #SodaKills or #OurVoiceNYC to engage teens online.

Ivan Pereira