Dr. Charles D. Larsen, a Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatric Dentistry, raced in the ING New York City Marathon last November with a very important mission in mind: to raise awareness of how dentists can help prevent childhood obesity. Dr. Larsen ran with the New York Road Runners’ Foundation "Team for Kids," an organization that supports runningbased physical education programs for children in underserved communities across the United States. He finished the 26.2 mile marathon in 3 hours 57 minutes and 55 seconds.
"Dentists in the community should focus not only on oral health, but also think about the overall health of the child, including exercise and nutrition," said Dr. Larsen. "‘Team for Kids’ focus is to help with exercise, nutrition, academics, counseling and support to improve children’s and families’ lives."
Dr. Larsen credits the idea to run the marathon to Dr. Stuart M. Hirsch, Associate Dean for Development and International Programs at NYUCD. "Dr. Hirsch told me running the marathon for a cause I believe in would be an excellent experience. Devoting my time to helping these kids and completing the marathon was the most exhilarating, spiritual thing I’ve done in 10 years," he said.
Dr. Larsen raised approximately $2,500 in donations for "Team for Kids" from NYUCD faculty and residents in the Department of Pediatric Dentistry and from family in Kansas, Iowa, Texas, Washington, DC, and Nebraska. He hopes that other dentists will join him next year to run the marathon and continue to educate people about how dentists can contribute to the fight against childhood obesity.