Central Brooklyn is facing a very real health crisis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 13 people die every hour because of an obesity-related disease, including heart disease and diabetes. In Central Brooklyn, seven out of 10 adults are overweight or obese and more than 40 percent report getting no physical activity at all. Not surprisingly we have some of the highest rates of heart disease and diabetes related deaths in New York City.
While these statistics are grim, innovative efforts such as Healthier Families on the Move are proving that a little motivation can have a big impact. Launched by the Brooklyn Alliance for Safer Streets on July 25, the initiative provides organized runs, walks and rides each Wednesday throughout Central Brooklyn starting at the centrally located Restoration Plaza.
Healthier Families on the Move will continue throughout the summer, and culminate with Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation’s 31st Annual 10K Run and Fun Walk. This much anticipated community event draws residents of all ages and fitness levels - from athletes warming up for NYC’s ING Marathon, to families looking to get outside with their neighbors and support their community. This year’s BSRC 10K will incorporate bike riders as well, offering something for everybody.
The Healthier Families on the Move and Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation’s active living initiatives are part of a broader strategy to impact disparities in health outcomes across the borough. Driving these efforts is the Brooklyn Community Transformation Coalition, a group of some 50 organizations and stakeholders working together with the Partnership for a Healthier New York City.
The Brooklyn Community Transformation Coalition aims to effect changes in health disparities across Brooklyn with the help of local organizations who are most able to mobilize the communities they serve. Serving as borough lead for the Coalition and for the Partnership for a Healthier New York City, Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation is the nation’s first community development corporation, providing a full spectrum of community development programming from workforce development and social supports to education and the arts.
Effective and easily replicable programs such as Healthier Families on the Move have the potential to dramatically impact health outcomes by creating opportunities for communities to offer active living options and influence the behaviors and attitudes that lie at the very core of poor health.
Verna Ademu- John, project coordinator for Restoration’s Health Initiatives.