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Students Blogging About Health & How To Beat Obesity


Students Blogging About Health & How To Beat Obesity

A team of blogging schoolchildren may be the South Bronx’s newest weapon against diabetes and obesity.

The CUNY Graduate School of Journalism in Manhattan has been awarded a two-year, $50,000 grant to create blogs, interactive Web sites called wikis, and slide shows about the health crisis in the Bronx, focusing mostly on Hunts Point.

Graduate students will be guiding teams of students and community members from the South Bronx, who will write blogs about their lives and give tips to their neighbors on healthy eating and how to keep in shape using the resources of their community.

“Traditional consumer health journalism, with the detached voice of journalists and the middle-class experts they quote, is not a good vehicle for reaching the needy populations of the South Bronx,” said Trudy Lieberman, the school’s director of health and medicine reporting, who applied for the grant. “The top-down approach of traditional journalism is unlikely to be effective at getting overweight teens to lose weight and eat vegetables.”

A large research component of the project will include students going block by block to log which bodegas in the South Bronx have the most nutritional products and at what prices - information residents will be able to then look up online before they go shopping.

Researchers may also go from pharmacy to pharmacy, comparing prices for diabetes medicine and equipment.

Seventeen percent of Hunts Point adults have diabetes, the largest proportion in the city, said Lieberman, and a recent survey by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine found there may be another 50,000 Bronx residents with undiagnosed diabetes.

A 2006 Health Department survey also found that bodegas supply more than 80% of the food South Bronx residents eat.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the country’s largest philanthropy devoted solely to improving health care, provided the grant.

Lieberman said the results of the research will be online by the end of 2008.

Schools, churches, community groups or individuals in the Bronx interested in contributing to the project can send an e-mail to Lieberman at

The Web sites for the bloggers have yet to be set up.


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