Governor Andrew M. Cuomo yesterday encouraged New Yorkers to help fight obesity during this year’s 20th anniversary of National Public Health Week, which began Monday, April 6. Obesity, the second leading cause of preventable death in the nation, has also reached epidemic levels in New York State. Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker will lead a tour throughout the state visiting organizations working on community-wide initiatives that address obesity and lack of physical activity.

“Obesity remains a challenging public health issue in New York State, and today we are taking new steps to help fight this epidemic,” Governor Cuomo said. “Fighting obesity starts with learning about healthy food choices and engaging in physical activity, and this week we are highlighting this message in communities across the state as part of our efforts to build a healthier New York.”

The acting State Health commissioner Dr. Zucker will be traveling the state taking that message to New Yorkers. Dr. Zucker will be participating with commuity organizations to promote healthy behaviors in several  events throughout Public Health Week. Unfortunately, neither Dr. Zucker nor Governor Cuomo will be visiting the Bronx this week.

“The fact that 25.4 percent of New Yorkers are  obese is a  reminder that we need to do more to address the health needs of populations that face the most significant social, economic, and health challenges. I want to thank Governor Cuomo for announcing a statewide campaign to help  fight obesity,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

This year in The Bronx, Borough President Diaz launched #Not62 campaign. The #Not62 campaign aims to engage healthcare providers and other professionals across many fields and industries to address the factors which impact health, improve the health outcomes of Bronx residents, and have the Bronx move up in the county health rankings in three to five years.

#Not62 employs social media encouraging Bronxites to use Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to post daily pictures of healthy habits.

In New York State, 25.4 percent of adults are obese and another 35.9 percent are overweight, affecting an estimated 8.7 million people. Overweight and obesity affect 40 percent of New York City public school students aged 6-12 years and 32 percent of students throughout the rest of the state.

Obesity and overweight can cause serious health problems, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, asthma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, several forms of cancer, and osteoarthritis. Not only have some of these diseases become increasingly prevalent in children and adolescents, but they have also led to New York being ranked second among states for medical expenditures attributable to obesity. Expenditures totaled $11.1 billion in 2009 with $4 billion financed by Medicaid and $2.7 billion financed by Medicare. This evidence supports the strong focus on obesity reduction efforts in the Prevention Agenda 2013-17, the state’s health improvement plan.

In addition to the statewide tour, the state Department of Health will also be providing health tips through social media under the hash tag #GetFitNYS. For more information on ways to stay fit and eat healthy visit: http://www.health.ny.gov/GetFitNYS.

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