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About Family Health & Wellness

The Family Health and Wellness Program of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County…

  • Improves family and community health through food and nutrition education.
  • Promotes the prevention and management of obesity and chronic diseases.
  • Strengthens family well-being and healthy lifestyle choices through parent education.

Suffolk County residents turn to CCE’s Family Health and Wellness Program (FHW), for timely, research-based information. Adults with concerns about raising healthy children, chronic disease prevention, proper nutrition, food safety, diabetes education and weight management rely on FHW as a reliable source. Families with limited-resources count on FHW to address needs relevant to their lives.

Food and Nutrition

Our programs emphasize healthy food choices, breastfeeding and physical activity, and encourage parents to establish a healthy feeding relationship with their children. Information is disseminated at health fairs, farmers’ markets and community events, and educator offer nutrition and health education to patients and Suffolk County Health Centers.

Food availability, quality and safety are critical to the health and well being so Suffolk’s families. Since low0income households have a higher prevalence of health conditions related to poor nutrition than households with higher incomes, FHW strives to help families mange limited resources for maximum health. Families learn about food safety, food budgeting and nutrition essentials to fight hunger and promote health.

Obesity and Chronic Diseases

Obesity rates among adults and children have risen dramatically during the last two decades leading to hreater health risks, especially among low-income and minority populations. FHW educators are working to address diabetes prevention and control, offering several initateves, including trainign for agency and school staff as well as parent education.

Obesity leads to an increase in diabetes, which is associated with life-threating complications. More than 51,000 Suffolk residents have diabetes which, according to the the CDC, is the sixth leading cause of death in American and increases health care costs by five fold. FHW educators teach people to change behaviors for good health at classes (in English and in Spanish) at libraries, schools and health centers. FHW also provides professional training and resources for health professionals. Additionally, Extension educators work with health care providers to minimize excessive weight gain, encourage healthy pregnancies and promote nutritional health in their patients, including infants and toddlers. These early interventions can lead to a lifetime of healthy food choices, reducing rates of obesity and chronic diseases.

Family Well-Being

The well-being of families is grounded in informed parenting. Parents create the environment of family life and provide children with their first and most influential model for healthy and responsible behavior. Research indicates the strong influence adults have on their family’s lifestyle, health and fitness.

FHW supports Suffolk’s families with educational programs and materials on all aspects of child development, including healthy physical, social, emotional and cognitive development. Our educators provide guidance on discipline, home-school connections, family communication, and parenting practices that support optimum childhood development.