Broome County Health Department Celebrates Public Health Week with a Step in the Right Direction

National Public Health Week

National Public Health Week
April 2-8, 2012

(BINGHAMTON, NY) – Since 1995, communities across the country have celebrated National Public Health Week every April. Each year, we select a different issue on which to focus our efforts. This year’s theme is “A Healthier America Begins Today: Join the Movement.” Together, we can work to encourage more residents of Broome County and their communities to take preventive measures to help improve their lives.

Feel the power of half an hour. Engaging in 30 minutes of regular physical activity most days of the week is a powerful way people can stay healthy, yet each year, despite these easy ways to stay healthy, nearly 1 million Americans die from diseases that could have been prevented.
Exercising regularly can go a long way toward helping Americans lessen their risk of obesity and deaths that could have been prevented, such as heart disease, cancer and stroke. Even the smallest preventive changes and initiatives can make a big difference in living healthier lives.
Adding just moderate amounts of physical activity five or more times a week to your routine uses 150 calories of energy on each day of activity, which can be equivalent to approximately 5 pounds in 6 months or 10 pounds in 1 year.
According to the most recent Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance Survey, only 16% of Broome County residents participate in moderate to vigorous activity. Most people cite lack of time as the number one reason for not engaging in physical activity. 
In response to this situation, the Broome County Health Department would like to acknowledge County Executive Debbie Preston and community partners who are “walking the talk” and offering residents increased opportunities to incorporate physical activity within their day. 
Two weeks ago at the opening ceremony of the Broome County Parks, Broome County Executive Debbie Preston, community experts and Health Department officials launched a 10,000 Steps a Day challenge to encourage Broome County residents to adopt a healthy lifestyle by increasing their physical activity. 
“Lately the Binghamton-area has been named an obese and pessimistic community. While I don’t agree that we’re at the top of those lists, there are measures we can take every day to decreaseobesity and improve mental health,” said Broome County Executive Debbie Preston.
“In Broome County we’re privileged to be home to many beautiful, clean and safe Parks, offering a wide range of activities. We also offer many activities throughout the community on a year-round basis. It’s important that we utilize our Parks and these activities to help keep Broome County in shape.”
“We applaud our county, cities, towns, and villages who are taking charge and changing the way they do business to assist public health in promoting, protecting and preserving the health of our community,” added Claudia Edwards, Broome County Public Health Director. “Creating opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to naturally engage in physical activity is the right approach,” Edwards commented. “The latest (2008) Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS) indicated that BC residents’ desire more spaces for outdoor recreation such as parks and walking trails, more sidewalks that are maintained and the availability of maps for walking, jogging and bicycling routes.”     
The City of Binghamton, Town of Union and Town of Conklin have all collaborated with The Broome County Health Department through various grant opportunities and have created a policy or an environmental change to extend the infrastructure of public health and promote additional physical activity options. In 2005, the Town of Conklin began a Walkable Community Project to expand a community trail in Schnurbusch Park and assist with pedestrian connectivity in the community.  
In 2007, the Town of Union worked to enhance sidewalks and curb design along with the passage of pedestrian policy that continues to design universal sidewalks for people of all ages and abilities.  
Also in 2007, the City of Binghamton installed 30 bicycle racks along the river trail and throughout the City of Binghamton, and just recently strengthened a “complete streets” policy to ensure that roads are designed with all users in mind - including bicyclists, public transportation vehicles and riders, and pedestrians of all ages and abilities. This policy provides residents with more opportunities to walk or bike to destinations that they may normally drive to.
 “The City of Binghamton has a strong commitment to improving public health, and a large part of that means designing and building our neighborhoods to promote more active and healthier lifestyles. That’s why we’re investing in park improvements and river trail expansions, adding bike lanes, working with AARP to redesign crosswalks, and proposing a local law to ensure future street investments that support all modes of transportation, not just the car,” stated Tarik Abdelazim, Director of Planning, Housing and Community Development for the City of Binghamton.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides the following recommendations for physical activity:
  •  Children and adolescents should do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of physical activity each day. 
  •  Adults should strive for 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week.
  • Adults 65+ who are generally fit, and have no limiting health conditions should do 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week
  • Healthy women should also get at least 30 minutes a day, during and after their pregnancy.

The CDC recommends breaking up 30 minutes into shorter intervals several times a day to reach the recommended goals. By picking physical activities you enjoy and that match your abilities, it will help ensure that you stick with them.

For more information about physical activity, complete streets and public health week go to:
04/02/2012 - 5:14pm