Helping Our Individuals with Developmental Disabilities Lead Healthy Lives

Pictured above: The New York Foundling’s Department of Food and Nutrition Services team.


Each March, we recognize Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month and National Nutrition Month. Both are reasons to celebrate at The Foundling, given we have a team of dietitians dedicated to teaching the more than 250 individuals with developmental disabilities in our care how to eat healthy and live an active lifestyle.


Since 1974, The Foundling has operated a number of residential homes for adults with developmental disabilities throughout New York City and its surrounding counties. Among the hundreds of individuals in our care — and the population of those with disabilities nationwide — obesity tends to be a common health issue.


The Department of Food and Nutrition Services at The New York Foundling is dedicated to making our community of individuals with disabilities healthier, one recipe at a time! In the six years since nutrition services were implemented, we have watched individuals and residents in our care grow in their health journey. As of today, we’re proud to say across our Developmental Disabilities Division’s residences, our individuals have lost a combined 1,845 pounds (that’s just under a ton of weight!) thanks to customized nutrition consulting, meal planning, seasonal recipes and menus, kitchen overhauls, and regular check-ins.


Over the past year alone, our average obesity rate across programs for our individuals with disabilities has decreased by 5 percent. Plus, the average obesity rate for is down to 33 percent (the average for individuals of this population nationwide is 36 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).


Given our incredible track-record, we’ve begun expanding these successful nutrition efforts to other programs within The Foundling, including to a program we operate for teens in foster care who are new or expecting mothers. Here, our nutritionist has created menus with tasty yet nutritious recipes, and leads cooking demonstrations and classes so these young women know how to cook affordable and healthy meals for themselves and their children.


We are excited to celebrate National Nutrition Month, and we look forward to sharing even more information throughout the month on how to make healthier choices in your kitchens!


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