Healthy Snacking


The Importance of Making Healthy Snacking

Did you know that over 30% of children and adolescents in the United States are overweight or obese? (1) Obesity poses a serious threat and long term health issues that can follow into adulthood and lead to a variety of diseases. Obesity results from a of lack of proper nutrition and being influenced by advertisements and marketing tactics that target children and young adults to consume processed, sugary foods. Today, we will explore how and why there is an obesity epidemic in the United States along with the health concerns that arise as a result. We will also discuss the necessary steps we can take to prevent consuming foods that will cause illness in the future.

Why is it that over 30% of the youth in the U.S. is headed down the road of illness? A road, that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will potentially lead to type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, both of which are risk factors for heart disease, and even psychological problems like depression, low self-esteem and anxiety. (2) Let’s take a look at one of the leading causes of over consumption of sugary, processed snacks: Advertisements. Children between the ages of 8-18 are exposed to various kinds of media, social media, video games and television that advertise highly processed foods. (3) Think back to watching your favorite TV show or the Super Bowl. These programs are generally interrupted by a commercial, persuading you to purchase a food that looks absolutely delicious on the television screen.


Think about it- you’ve definitely seen commercials for the snacks that you find yourself reaching for in the grocery store. Foods and drinks like Starburst, Cheetos, Doritos, and Pepsi are just a few of the hundreds of items advertised on the news that are partially to blame for our country's obesity epidemic. Marketing tactics like catchy slogans and jingles, and visuals of perfectly crisp potato chips that make consumers drool and crave their product. Companies use these tactics to deceive our population into consume unhealthy foods without warnings of the long term effects.

The obesity epidemic is also a result of the lack of knowledge surrounding the consequences of consuming highly processed and sugary foods. Corporations do their best to mask the true health costs of consuming their products. Studies shows that the trend of children choosing chips, cookies and sweets on an average of about three times a day (4) proves that the effect of advertising has been mounting for decades. The United States Department of Agriculture, states that the snacks children consume provide about 37% of their daily energy, but only about 15%-30% of the necessary nutrients. (1) Overweight children consume about 1000 more calories per day than what’s required. (3) What tactics can we implement that will prevent an increase in the obesity epidemic in our children and ourselves?

The first step is to make mindful choices with our food and become well versed on the effects of consuming sugary and processed foods. Eating foods like fruits, dried fruits, yogurt and nuts are all much healthier options than chips, cookies or candy. Snacking on healthier alternatives not only make you feel better in the present, but will help you maintain optimal health in the long term as well. Other options for maintaining a healthy weight and body include getting about 30-minutes of exercise per day. Adapting healthier food and lifestyle habits might seem challenging but it is important to keep your long term health goals in mind. Together we can fight one of America’s biggest health problems, and prevent it negatively affecting our communities.  

Surena Harinath


1) Snacking for a Cause: Nutritional Insufficiencies and Excesses of U.S. Children, a Critical Review of Food Consumption Patterns and Macronutrient and Micronutrient Intake of U.S. Children

Julie Hess and Joanne Slavin


3)NCCOR Childhood Obesity in United States

4)Health Affairs By Carmen Piernas and Barry M. Popkin

Trends In Snacking Among U.S. Children

Olympic Day


On Tuesday August 8th Active Plus volunteered their services at the NYC Mission Society Olympic Day at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. Active Plus was responsible for operating the fitness stations such as kickball, steal the bacon, relay races, baseball and other fun activities. Active Plus provided over 25 volunteers to accommodate the 800 energized students. 

Active Plus Yoga Program


This past Spring and Summer Active Plus created a Yoga and Mindfulness Program with community partners at the Salvation Army and NYC Mission Society.  The program worked with approximately twenty students for 12 weeks. This program hopes to improve students’ behavior, mental state, health, and performance, as well as teacher resilience, effectiveness and overall classroom climate. We hope to continue working with these Harlem community partners for years to come. 

Active Plus Two Year Anniversary


For those who attended and/or donated to Active Plus for their Two Year Anniversary celebration on May 5th, 2017 we would like to thank you for the support!  We are proud to have surpassed our goal by reaching over 1,000 youth and adolescence in Harlem since the start of 2017. Your support has supported a new yoga and meditation program which we launched this spring and we’re also excited about our collaborations with Young Women’s Leadership School, Salvation Army and Sojourner Truth School. 

We are currently gearing up for an exciting 2017-2018 academic year and are truly grateful for the out pour of support from our friends and family.

Thanks again for the support!


New Yorker of the Week

We would like to congratulate Active Plus boxing instructor Reese Scott on being named New Yorker of the Week. Reese was recognized for the work she has done with our young women at Young Women Leadership School in East Harlem. Click HERE for the full story on

When it comes to learning how to box, our New Yorker of the Week is making sure women across the city don't get counted out. NY1's John Schiumo introduces us.

Combat and dance; boxing uses strength, rhythm, and movement. And for young women at the city's first boxing gym just for women, it offers so much more.

"It feels like all this power within is finally coming out," participant Allissa Roman said. "That all this hidden strength I had is — it's just empowering, empowering as a woman."

Standing in their corner is Reese Scott, the founder of the East Harlem gym, Women's World of Boxing.

"I got into boxing about 13 years ago. I was almost 220 pounds, very overweight, very depressed, very low self-esteem," Reese said. "I knew that the boxing gym was my happy place. It was the place where I wasn't sad. It was the place where I felt on top of the world."

Today, Reese provides free clinics to teenagers at schools and non-profits throughout the five boroughs.

On the morning we interviewed her, she was mentoring 11th and 12th graders at The Young Women's Leadership School in East Harlem.

"I wasn't allowed to do certain things, because I was a girl. That didn't make any sense to me," Reese said. "They need an outlet. They need to know that there's a safe space where they can go, they can release, they can talk without being judged."

"She tells us that she's struggled coming up and that she was talked about and bullied, and to see her now as a strong, independent woman and an woman boxer, it's very inspirational for us," participant Chasidy Forbes said.

With every jab, the young New Yorkers at the gym gain a sense of pride and the courage to push for something better.

"You may not be perfect the first time you do it, but as you keep practicing and trying it you get better," 17-year-old participant Milly Dilone said.

"I'm actually going to join her boxing group soon," Roman said. "She's very motivating. She really tells you to put your mind to things, and when she tells me that, I just keep going, I keep striving to do more for her."

"We are hope, and we're not lost, and we have each other, and everything is possible," Reese said.

And so, for giving women a fighting chance, Reese Scott is our New Yorker of the Week.

Active Plus Healthy Harlem


HARLEM, New York, May 21, 2016 - The Rotary Club of Harlem, Sojourner Truth School, Harlem Children’s Zone and more team up to provide an unprecedented day of interactive health workshops for students and parents in the Harlem community. “Healthy Harlem” was the first of its kind and a huge success as dozens of students; grades K-8 and their parents gathered at Sojourner Truth School to learn the fundamentals of living and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. All attendees were treated to breakfast, lunch, giveaways; and a series of informative, educational and fun-filled sessions to help transform the way we think about health and wellness.

Active Plus, a Harlem-based 501(c) 3 non-profit specializing in working with students in the community, through sports & recreation, provided a unique set of fitness activities for the children to stimulate their minds and bodies. The children were taught the need for staying active and learned quick, exciting exercises that make fitness fun. After morning fitness the children attended the next session, to engage in an interactive workshop on nutrition and healthy eating. Each child was able to assist in the preparation of a tasty salad containing fruits, nuts, and vegetables. They were excited to learn how to identify healthy meal options and the effects of those foods on the body.

While the children were learning about nutrition, their parents were able to be enlightened on the ever changing world of substance abuse and its causes. S.A.F.E in Harlem, a non-profit organization leading the charge for a drug free Harlem, led an authentic discussion about how students can protect themselves from the potentially dangerous influences of social and peer pressure. Parents were equipped with the tools to identify warning signs of substance abuse in their households and resources to get the help they may need. Harlem Hospital Family Planning Clinic and The Half Full Institute provided vital information on hygiene, stress management, and reproductive health. The 1st Annual “Healthy Harlem”, coordinated by The Rotary Club of Harlem, a community service organization was a huge hit among all the attendees. The Rotary Club also gave away hundreds of brand new Scholastic reading books for families to take home. The day was capped off and made even more special by a raffle prize awarded to one lucky student and his family., an online feedback platform donated two tickets to “Aladdin” on Broadway., to learn more.

Active Plus at the Susie Cause Cancer Foundation Health Festival

The Susan Cohan Colon Cancer Foundation, Inc. (“Susie’s Cause”) teamed up with Harlem Hospital and others to provide the local community with a free day of health education, with a particular focus on colon cancer screening and prevention, alongside performances from local arts groups and entertainers on Saturday, June 4, 2016, at the Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building Plaza in Harlem.

The Harlem Outreach Health Festival is the second stop on a 10-city health festival tour organized by Susie’s Cause, a Baltimore-based nonprofit organization dedicated to colon cancer prevention, treatment, and support services. The festivals are specifically designed to provide colon cancer education to underserved communities, in which colon cancer diagnoses and deaths occur at an alarmingly high rate. 

In addition to colon cancer education, the Harlem Outreach Health Festival  offered free health screenings, healthy lifestyle exhibits, fitness demonstrations courtesy of Shape Up NYC and the YMCA, giveaways, and face painting. 

In attendance are representatives from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; Gilda’s Club New York City; Cancer Care; Shape Up NYC and the Harlem YMCA; the New York City Department for the Aging; Circle of Love, a cancer support group; and Active Plus. The festival’s national sustaining sponsor is Lilly Oncology.

A+ Ghana Mission

Active Plus Goes To Ghana January 2016. We will be partnering with Life For Africa in their backpack campaign. For the month of December and early January Active Plus will be collecting school supplies and monetary donations for two schools in Dodowa. Dodowa is in a rural area of Ghana where access to supplies is very limited.  In addition to the donation of school supplies, Active Plus  will be conducting a healthy eating workshop and sporting competitions to teach the importance of staying active and healthy!  We are currently selling Ghana Active Plus  shirts for $25. All proceeds goes towards the funding of securing extra supplies once arriving to Africa.

Click on thumbnails below to purchase. Please let us know your shirt size, shirt color and design. If you would like for it to be shipped, please purchase from Africa Shirts tab.

Harlem Hospital and Active Plus Join Forces

We are happy to announce that Harlem Hospital is now an official partner of Active Plus. Not only will our student-athletes and clients be getting amazing physical fitness training/education but now Harlem Hospital will provide a streamline of healthcare services.

Active Plus and Harlem Hospital continues to address health disparities that exist in the Harlem community by providing reproductive health services to empower women, men, and adolescents to prevent unintended pregnancy. We serve diverse populations including; low-income, uninsured and under insured people of color, many of whom are immigrants. 

Services Provided: Pregnancy Testing & Options Counseling, Contraceptive Methods (including IUD's and Implants), Emergency Contraceptives, STD Testing & Treatment, HIV Counseling & Testing, Infertility, Postpartum Care, Breast Cancer Screening, PAP Smears (for women), Colorectal Screening (for men) and Social Services.

We facilitate health education workshops on topics such as Pregnancy Prevention, Young Men's Health, HIV/AIDS, STD's, Hygiene, Healthy Eating, Relationships, Breast Health and Cervical/Colorectal Cancer. 


Active Plus Running Go Pro

New York JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge

June 12, 2015

Now in its 39th year, this popular corporate sporting event will feature 3.5-mile road races in seven countries on five continents.  It begins March 26 in Johannesburg, South Africa, and runs through November 11 in Sydney. In between will be seven U.S. events, and one each in Singapore, Germany, the United Kingdom and China.

In 2014, races in the 13 cities attracted a record 267,960 participants from 8,071 companies.