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PR- 166-04
June 27, 2004


Community Walk Created to Improve Health of Harlem Residents

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the Commission on Women's Issues announced today the launch of the community health initiative, Step Out New York City.  The inaugural walk, Step Out Harlem, kicked off at Marcus Garvey Park at 2:00 p.m., the first of three community walks designed to encourage New Yorkers to increase their physical activities and keep track of their effort via the Internet.  Participants had the opportunity to walk with a tour guide through the historic heart of Harlem's community.

"Walking or exercising 30 minutes a day will significantly reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes," said Mayor Bloomberg. "This walk will not only make us healthier but it will also allow its walkers to enjoy the beauty of Harlem's historical sites such as St. Nicholas Park and Jumel Mansion."

"The Mayor and this Commission has made improving women's health a top priority in New York City," said Commission on Women's Issues Chair Anne Sutherland Fuch.  "Today with Step Out Harlem, we are going directly to the community, asking your family to support you while you walk through our neighborhoods and address one of the issues faced by women in our city - fitness."

Dr. Mary Bassett, MD, MPH, Deputy Commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, said, "Step Out Harlem is a wonderful opportunity for residents to demonstrate a commitment to physical activity as a part of a healthy lifestyle.  Through its East and Central Harlem District Public Health Office, the Health Department is dedicated to reaching out to the Harlem community directly to encourage exercise and other healthy behaviors.  We are proud to support this initiative to make Harlem residents healthier."

Step Out New York City's next two walks are scheduled for the Bronx and Brooklyn in July and August.  Further information regarding the upcoming walks can be found on the City's website: under the Commission on Women's Issues.  Participants can choose to walk one, three or five miles.  The Commission's Health Committee recognizes the increasing prevalence of heart disease, diabetes and cancer that are affecting more and more women and their families. Regular moderate physical activity such as walking for a half hour most days can substantially reduce risk for cardiovascular disease a well as prevent diabetes and some cancers.

Step Out New York City is made possible with the support of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Lifetime Television, the American Cancer Society and Take A Walk New York, a non-profit organization that develops walking trips throughout the City.

Mayor Bloomberg established the New York City Commission on Women's Issues as an advisory body on matters impacting the lives of women in New York.  The Commission has identified three main areas of concern: health, childcare and economic development. These three areas are the basis of the Commission's work. The Commission also works to educate the public and helps to strengthen the network of organizations in the public and private sectors expand careers and other opportunities for women.


Ed Skyler / Silvia Alvarez   (212) 788-2958

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