|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
October 2, 2012
HHC TAKE CARE NY HEALTH SCREENING EVENTS FOCUS
ON PREVENTING OBESITY
City Public Hospitals Invite New Yorkers to “Commit to Be Fit” by checking BMI,
Blood Pressure and Taking a Fit Test
Free Flu Shots and Other Preventive Health Tests Also Available at
More Than 50 Public Health Fairs
New York, NY - The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) today announced that its annual “Take Care New York” public health campaign will have an anti-obesity focus this year, urging New Yorkers to “Commit to Be Fit” by eating healthy foods and exercising to fight illness and maintain a healthy weight. Throughout the month of October, HHC hospitals and primary care health centers will host public health fairs and education events where children and adults can learn their body mass index (BMI), measure blood pressure and conduct a three-minute cardiovascular fitness test.
New Yorkers are invited to participate in any of the more than 50 health fairs that will also offer free flu shots and a variety of health tests that address prevention and the early detection of illness and chronic disease affecting the public, including obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, asthma, HIV, cancer and more. HHC’s 11 public hospitals and primary care health centers in all five boroughs will also provide nutrition counseling, smoking cessation kits, and other services at little or no cost.
“In New York City, more than half of all adults are overweight or obese,” said HHC President Alan D. Aviles. “Adults and children who are overweight are at increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, arthritis and cancer. HHC hospitals and health centers can help New Yorkers commit to be fit in just a few simple steps. Eating right, exercising and losing weight can improve your health and decrease the risk of chronic disease.”
In New York City, 58 percent of adults –or a total of 3,437,000 people – and 40 percent of children are overweight or obese. The obesity epidemic strikes hardest in communities already suffering from health and economic disparities, particularly black, Latino and low-income communities where the rate of overweight and obesity reaches 70 percent in some neighborhoods.
Children and adults who participate in this year’s Take Care NY health fairs will be asked to fill out a “Commit to be Fit” post card where they can record some of the new healthy eating and exercise habits they are willing to adopt. The post cards will also allow participants to better understand and record their blood pressure and BMI. For kids, the post card lists the 5-2-1-0 rule to be followed daily: 5 or more fruits and vegetables, 2 hours or less of TV and video games; one hour of physical activity; and 0 sugary drinks, with a recommendation to drink low fat milk or water.
“The card helps open a conversation about setting goals for healthy diet and physical activity,” said Dr. David Stevens, Senior Director of the Office of Healthcare Improvement.
The public hospital system is also part of a city-wide anti-obesity task force formed this year to help New Yorkers lose weight and stay healthy. Task force members come from 10 city agencies and are developing a variety of strategies, including increasing the use of public spaces for physical activity and urban agriculture; health and wellness programs and opportunities for City employees; reducing consumption of items linked to obesity; and increasing outreach to encourage the adoption of model employer policies around food.
“A few minutes of preventive care can help add years to your life,” Aviles said.
Take Care New York screenings can help address some of the most pervasive health challenges facing New Yorkers:
- Every year, more than 2,000 New Yorkers die of seasonal influenza and pneumonia, which can develop as a complication of flu.
- Depression affects nearly 10 percent of adults 18 and older in the United States. Nearly twice as many women as men are affected.
- Heart disease is the #1 cause of death among New Yorkers, regardless of gender, race or ethnicity.
- 1 in 4 adult New Yorkers has been told he or she has high blood pressure (hypertension), a leading and treatable cause of heart disease and stroke.
- More than 107,000 New Yorkers are living with HIV or AIDS, with nearly one in four infected individuals unaware of their HIV status.
- Breast cancer kills about 1,260 New Yorkers every year, yet 23% of women 40 and older have not had a recent mammogram.
- Colon cancer kills almost 1,400 New Yorkers every year. Timely colonoscopies could prevent up to 90% of all deaths from colon cancer.
HHC's Take Care New York outreach will feature public service announcements in English and Spanish on local radio stations and newspapers. Screenings and other HHC health services are available to all New Yorkers regardless of immigration status or ability to pay. Individuals will learn about healthcare options from a MetroPlus Health Plan representative. Those without health insurance will get help on site to apply for any health insurance plan for which they may qualify or to otherwise access affordable healthcare services at HHC hospitals and clinics. New Yorkers can dial 311 or visit www.nyc.gov for a complete list of convenient locations participating in the Take Care New York campaign.
The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) is a $6.7 billion integrated healthcare delivery system with its own 420,000 member health plan, MetroPlus, and is the largest municipal healthcare organization in the country. HHC serves 1.4 million New Yorkers every year and more than 475,000 are uninsured. HHC provides medical, mental health and substance abuse services through its 11 acute care hospitals, four skilled nursing facilities, six large diagnostic and treatment centers and more than 70 community based clinics. HHC Health and Home Care also provides in-home services for New Yorkers. HHC was the 2008 recipient of the National Quality Forum and The Joint Commission's John M. Eisenberg Award for Innovation in Patient Safety and Quality. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/hhc.