Northeastern, the Boston Red Sox and Children’s Hospital Boston launch community-based child health initiative

Boston preschoolers and their caregivers in four city neighborhoods will learn to eat healthier, thanks to a collaborative new educational pilot program, Healthy Kids, Healthy Futures. The initiative was announced today by Northeastern president Joseph Aoun, Boston Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino and Children’s Hospital Boston CEO Dr. James Mandell, who were joined by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino at the Roxbury Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) Head Start site.

(To watch a video of the announcement, click here).

A part of Northestern’s Stony Brook Initiative, the partnership among the university, Children’s Hospital Boston, the Boston Red Sox, and ABCD will promote healthy eating habits to children and their families in the Fenway, Mission Hill, the South End and Lower Roxbury.

“This partnership demonstrates the power of collaboration, and will show that what we can’t accomplish alone, we can accomplish together,” said President Aoun.

The program will address the growing incidence of obesity in children. According to a recent study, one in five American four-year olds is overweight.

“From day one, we have to give these kids an opportunity for the future, and we are working together to make sure these kids have a healthy start,” said Mayor Menino.

Healthy Kids, Healthy Futures will engage parents and childcare providers of preschool-aged children through educational workshops aimed at promoting healthy behaviors both at school and at home.

Dr. Mandell spoke of the importance of extending health and wellness awareness to caregivers of children in an effort to stem the obesity epidemic.

“An effort against obesity has to be a collaboration, and I think that this program could serve as a national model,” he said.

Lucchino said that the commitment of the Red Sox extends beyond that of the playing field.

“At the Red Sox, we want to be more than just a baseball team, and this is an opportunity for the Red Sox to be actively involved with great partners in a project that will directly benefit the people in our community,” said Lucchino.

Named after an ancient waterway that connects the neighborhoods surrounding Northeastern, the Stony Brook Initiative is an evolving partnership among Northeastern and its neighbors aimed at creating solutions to urban issues that are developed from the ground up. Healthy Kids, Healthy Futures is the most recent example of this multifaceted approach, which emphasizes innovation and the development of mutually beneficial partnerships.