Last month, HealthCorps founder Dr. Mehmet Oz (author and heart surgeon) presented findings of a recent study on the impact of HealthCorps Coordinators in their communities.
A new study on HealthCorps—a school-based educational and mentoring program modeled after the Peace Corps—shows that its students are “reducing soda consumption, exercising more and developing a better understanding of healthy behaviors.” The study looked at 971 high school students enrolled in 11 New York City high schools (although HealthCorps operates in 50 schools in nine states across the United States).
The two-year study was conducted by Professor John Cawley, Ph.D., in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management at Cornell University. Cawley’s research includes a range of topics connected to the “economics of obesity” like the “effect of body weight on labor market outcomes such as wage rates, unemployment, employment disability, and the transition from welfare to work, and “the role of body weight in adolescent behavior, such as smoking and sexual activity.”
Dr. Oz said, who presented the study’s findings in June, said:
“These findings underscore the effectiveness of our peer mentoring program in our mission to stem child obesity and diabetes among underserved populations across the country. While no one program can be a panacea for the health issues plaguing America’s youth, the HealthCorps program is an effective path forward in tackling at least two of the CDC’s principal target areas for the prevention of childhood obesity (decrease soda consumption, increase breast feeding, increase intake of fresh fruit and vegetables, decrease television viewing and increase physical activity.)”
The newest class of HealthCorps participants (called Coordinators) is currently engaged in a month-long training in New York City. On July 6, the program inaugurated the training month with a special ceremony and reception in New York City at the site of HealthCorps’ first pilot school. Training will end on July 30 with a trip to Katchkie Farm, an organic farm in Kinderhook, New York.
Then the Coordinators will fan out to high schools across the country at the start of the school year as full-time health educators and mentors carrying out the organization’s curriculum on nutrition, fitness and mental resiliency. HealthCorps Coordinators are recent college graduates with a strong interest in pursuing medical school or graduate health studies after their two-year term.