West Hempstead, NY -- New York Knick legend Earl “The Pearl” Monroe and the Hofstra Men's and Women's Basketball teams taught kids about safety on the court and the importance of exercise at a free basketball clinic sponsored by EmblemHealth, Inc., Hofstra University and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation on Saturday afternoon at Hempstead Lake State Park.

Hofstra Coaches Tom Pecora and Krista Kilburn-Steveskey instructed 150 kids—ages six to 13—to shoot, dribble and pass with players from the Hofstra basketball teams, who mentored the kids in defensive drills and helped them improve their techniques.  Then, everyone sat down as Monroe reminisced about his days on the court, and offered tips on safety and the importance of exercise and staying fit for good health.

“This clinic is an exciting and memorable way to teach kids about the benefits of exercise and sports safety,” says Dr. William A. Gillespie, SVP and Chief Medical Officer of EmblemHealth.  “This event is part of our extensive and ongoing efforts to encourage healthy behaviors and reduce pediatric obesity.”

According to Dr. Gillespie, EmblemHealth is developing an array of initiatives to help its members live healthier lifestyles.  It recently created a Pediatric Obesity Registry of children who may be at risk for medical conditions related to being overweight. The Registry will be used to develop targeted interventions for parents and children who are grappling with obesity. The Pediatric Obesity Registry is an intervention within  the New York State Department of Health’s Performance Improvement Project.

As part of the initiative, EmblemHealth is providing parents with a “Toolkit” based on the American Academy of Pediatrics’ 5-2-1-0 Campaign, which encourages children to eat five fruits and vegetables every day; limit TV/computer time unrelated to school to two hours or less a day; get one-hour or more of exercise every day; and substitute water and low-fat milk for sugar-sweetened drinks.  Participants in the basketball clinic received educational materials on nutrition and exercise along with mementos of the day.

EmblemHealth and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation also sponsored the free Summer Fun Run Series at four different locations on Long Island.  The fourth and final run in the series takes place on Monday, August 3 at Jones Beach State Park with registration at 5:30 pm before the run. Over 250 children participated in the first three runs.

About EmblemHealth:
EmblemHealth, Inc., through its family of companies including Group Health Incorporated (GHI) and HIP Health Plan of New York (HIP), serves 3.4 million people and provides affordable, quality health care coverage through a range of attractive options. Members have a choice of networks, including access to over 92,000 quality doctors and other health care professionals and most of the leading hospitals across the tristate region. For more information, visit www.emblemhealth.com.