Health Promotion in the Community
It is a fast-paced life, living in New York City; you can sometimes neglect different aspects of your health and well-being. I took “My Health Survey” on the New York City Department of Health website, which I found interesting. In “My Health Survey,” my results did not reveal any major area of concern except for my Body Mass Index (BMI).
The survey gave me recommendations for living a healthier life based on my responses. The survey had six areas which included questions on weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking, exercise, and sexual practice. The survey results suggested that I should pay attention to my BMI which is under the area of body weight.
When I got my results, I went over the six areas and their recommendations. My blood pressure was good for my health. The recommendation was that I make sure my blood pressure is checked regularly by my health care provider and to keep it below 120/80. I make sure that my blood pressure is checked regularly and try to avoid situations that can make it increase or decrease to an unhealthy level. I control my blood pressure by reducing my intake of sodium, regular exercise and relaxation. My cholesterol level was also good, and to maintain it, I have to have a healthy diet and regular exercise. One time in my life, I was told by a doctor that I should watch my cholesterol level so I took preventive measures to avoid having a high level of cholesterol. I would read the fat content on the labels of the food products before I buy it, and cut down on butters and fast foods. I was congratulated for not smoking. It said that by not smoking, it is the most important thing that I can do for my health. Also I have greatly reduced my chances of getting lung disease, cancer, and heart disease. I am glad that I do not smoke tobacco products to prevent these risks to my health. The results said that if I needed more information on smoking, I could check out the Tobacco Control pages on the NYC DOH website.
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I exercise regularly and try to keep active, so the survey results told me to maintain what I am doing. It said that exercising regularly is important for a longer and healthier life. It provided a link to the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) website. For tips on becoming more active, this was very good. When I went to the CDC’s website, it provided me with some good information on physical activity and health. It mentions how regular physical activity is one of the most important things that a person can do for his or her health. Also regular exercise can control your weight, reduce your chances of cardiovascular disease ,type 2 diabetes, some cancers, strengthen bones and muscles, improve mental health and increases a person’s chance of living longer. Under sexual practice, it said not to worry about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), if I was not sexually active. It was recommended that if I become sexually active that I should use a barrier protection and make sure that my partner uses a condom to avoid STDs, including HIV. The results also suggested that my doctor should offer me confidential, voluntary counseling and testing for HIV. To avoid STDs, I get a regular check-up and make sure that my partner wears a condom even though we are in a monogamous relationship.
My Body Mass Index was measured at 28. BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. According to the BMI, I am considered overweight for my height. The maximum weight that I am allowed in order to be healthy is 145 lbs and being overweight increases my chances of getting diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, etc. The recommendations to lose weight includes exercising more to balance the calories that I eat, eating less by reducing portion sizes, and eating foods low in fat and calories. The NYC Department of Health website provided a link that I could visit and learn more about healthy weight. I learnt that obesity is a major problem in New York City and that more than half of New Yorkers are overweight. I chose obesity because of the risks it can have on my health and the community. It is a major risk factor to health and it deserves to be paid close attention to by the New York City health community.
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A problem that I may face in my attempt to improve the obesity issue is finding local gyms or workout programs close to where I live in the Bronx. There are not any gyms in my neighborhood with some of the fitness equipment that I like to use to maintain my exercise routine. This would be a good reinforcer to enable me to work out more. It will be easy for me to find the right food to eat at my local supermarket by buying fresh fruits and vegetables. Also I find it easy in taking the initiative to do some form of physical activity at home and watching my caloric intake.
There are a variety of different programs that are provided by the New York City government in regards to the obesity issue. There are fitness programs offered by the NYC Health and Parks Departments. One such program is called “Shape Up New York.” It is a free family fitness program that is offered at parking sites and community centers around New York City. The classes are provided for both adults and children. The classes include step aerobics, fitness walking, light weights, stretching and toning exercises. One of the recreation centers that offer this program in the Bronx community is St. James Recreation Center. The address is 2530 Jerome Avenue, Bronx, NY 10468 and is located in St. James Park. The phone number is (718) 367-3657 or 3658. The hours of operation are Wednesday to Thursday from 4 to 7pm and Saturdays from 11 am to 2pm. The nearest bus line is the BX#12, 9, 22, 28 to Kingsbridge Road and Fordham Road. The closest train line is the number 4 or D train to Fordham or Kingsbridge Road. There are no fees to use this instructor-led fitness program.
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The Urban Health Plan, Inc (UHP) offers various programs regarding diabetes and obesity and the importance of fitness and nutrition. The Health Spot in the lobby of the UPH has literature on many of these health topics. The address is 1065 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY 10459. The phone number is (718) 589-1687 ext. 2831. Their website address is www.urbanhealthplan.org. Their hours of operation are Mondays to Fridays from 7 am to 7 pm, Saturdays from 8 am to 5pm and Sundays from 11 am to 3 pm. The bus lines that go there are BX# 19, 5, 35, 27, and 4 to Westchester Avenue and Southern Blvd. The nearest subway lines are the number 2 or 5 train to Simpson Avenue. Then walk one block and the center is at the corner of Southern Blvd. and Westchester Avenue. There are no fees to use these programs.
The Cornell Cooperative Extension Nutrition and Health Program help New York City residents of all ages make informed decisions about food and nutrition, health and fitness, resource management, food safety, and health care. They work closely with their partners to provide community nutrition and health education to targeted adults, children, and families. One of their major programs is called Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP), which provides interactive, hands-on workshops to help families make accurate healthy nutrition choices. Goals of the program include helping adults practice desired dietary behaviors, applying dietary recommendations in daily meals and snacks, managing food budgets, and using food safety and handling practices. The address is 1465 Townsend Avenue, Suite 1B, Bronx, NY 10452. Their phone number is (718) 992-2490. Their website address is http://nyc.cce.cornell.edu. The workshops are available from Mondays to Thursdays, during daytime and evening hours. Some Saturday morning classes are also available. Contact the EFNEP for the workshops that you will be able to attend. The nearest subway line is the number 4 train and get off at 170 Street Station, then walk 4 minutes to 1465 Townsend Avenue. There are no fees or costs for using this program.
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The NYC Health Department of Health also works to ensure that Farmers’ markets are not just places to purchase healthy, local food but are there for NYC residents to receive resources and learn how to live healthier lives. The Stellar Farmers’ Market Initiative promotes the benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Their nutritionists free nutrition education workshops and cooking demonstrations at select farmers’ markets throughout the New York City area. One such farmers’ market is called the Lincoln Hospital Greenmarket. It is located on 149 Street between Park and Morris Avenues in the Bronx. For information on the market, you can contact the Bronx District Public Health Office at (718) 466-9178. Additional information on this market can be found at . Their schedule is Tuesdays and Fridays, June 29th through November 23rd from 8 am to 3pm. The nearest bus lines are BX#1, 2, 19, 32 and 41. The subways lines are number 2, 4, or 5 to 149th Street. In addition to hosting the market, the hospital provides support with information tables and health screenings. There are directories on the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene website where people can access and find the locations of various physical activity and nutrition resources. These programs are sponsored by non-profit organizations, community groups, and various city agencies. Most of us know that being physically active and eating well are good for our health, so everyone can gain the health benefits and live a longer and healthier life.
Thomas A. Farley, M.D., MPH
Department of Health& Mental Hygiene
New York City
April 14, 2010
Dear Commissioner Farley,
My name is Andrea Lew, a resident of Co-op City in the Bronx. One of my required classes is Urban Studies Community Health class and one of the assignments was to write a paper about health promotion in the New York City community. The assignment included taking the “My Health Survey” on the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene website and selecting a health issue that revealed an area of concern regarding my survey results. My selected health issue was obesity. I searched the New York City Department of Health and New York City government websites and found out what information and services were provided in regards to obesity.
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New York City provides a variety of different programs and services to help people deal with the problem of obesity. There are some recommendations that are needed to improve some of the existing services. More public health promotion campaigns are needed with special attention to selected groups, including Hispanics, African Americans, young children, and communities experiencing health disparities. Most New York residents are not aware of some of the present programs such as the “Fit Now Bronx” and “Shape Up New York” that are in place for physical activity. People need to know more about these programs so that they can get involved in getting fit. There needs to be more media coverage about media about obesity being a major public health problem in New York City. Many residents of New York City do not perceive obesity as being a serious health problem until it personally affects them. The costs associated with obesity are increasing, because it leads to higher rates of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, hypertension, asthma, etc.More health care providers need to offer referrals for nutrition counseling and use the Body Mass Index to screen more often for obesity. This increases the number of people who know their weight status based on their Body Mass Index and also for young children.
There should be an improvement of access to physical activity opportunities. There is a lot of physical inactivity among adults and young children and this is a problem because it is important for losing weight and staying fit. Increase the availability and accessibility of affordable places to be physically active. More gyms need to offer a reduced price for their memberships. Many people do not use these gyms because they cannot afford the membership. Also the free recreation centers should add more days and hours for people to participate in physical activity. More promotion of the farmers’ markets in addition to indoor markets for the winter months so that people can still get their fruits and vegetables consumption for that season. The consumption of more variety of vegetables can lead to lower body fat. There is also a need for improving the school environments to promote more physical activity and nutrition in the school cafeterias. Obesity is a growing issue among young children. Children are not expected to have a long life expectancy as their parents; which is not good for the future of New York City and the United States of America. Thank you for your time and hope to see more great work done in the health promotion for obesity in the City Of New York.
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New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. (2010).
Physical Activity and
Nutrition. Programs and Services. Retrieved April 12, 2010 from
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, (2006).
A Guide to Fitness and
Nutrition Programs in the South Bronx. Retrieved April 12, 2010 from
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010).
Physical Activity and Health. Retrieved
April 12, 2010 from http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/health/index.html