Governor David A. Paterson yesterday announced the award of $6.98 million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to fund policy, system and environmental changes to improve nutrition, increase physical activity and cut tobacco use in New York.
The State’s funding is part of a national package announced last week by United States Secretary for Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.
“This award allows us to concentrate on the leading causes of chronic disease, improving the health of all New Yorkers and reducing the costs of health care,” Governor Paterson said. “These funds will enable the State Department of Health and our partners to improve the health of our children, better inform consumers about wholesome foods, reduce the use of tobacco and provide those who wish to quit smoking with the support they need. I applaud President Obama, Secretary Sebelius and the New York Congressional Delegation for providing these funds.”
State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D., said: “These funds will improve the health of New York’s children and adults by promoting healthy lifestyles and by directly targeting the top two causes of disease and early death: obesity and tobacco use. Combined with the Department of Health’s focus on preventing chronic diseases and their risk factors by making the healthy choice the easy choice, these funds will advance these efforts and further reduce future health care costs.”
New York State is an established leader in reducing secondhand tobacco exposure and reducing smoking rates via policy, system and environmental changes, and expects similar public health strategies can improve nutrition, increase physical activity, and continue to reduce tobacco use.
New York’s initiatives to be conducted under new ARRA funding include:
• Increasing physical activity by providing technical assistance to schools to develop and expand their policies and practices to ensure that all elementary students participate in at least 120 minutes per week of quality physical education, as required by State Education Law.
• Supporting the Governor’s anti-obesity initiatives by educating the public about the high calorie content of many foods purchased in chain restaurants and by reducing the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages.
• Reducing youth tobacco use by raising awareness of the impact of tobacco advertising and product display on youth smoking behaviors.
• Reducing tobacco use through emotionally evocative media campaigns designed to promote smoking cessation and the free services available through the New York State Smokers’ Quitline.
• Improving support to new mothers to promote increased breastfeeding, especially exclusive breastfeeding. Breastfeeding has been shown to promote optimal infant growth, protect infants from infections, and reduce obesity in both mother and infant. The Department of Health will provide training and technical assistance on policies and practices to hospitals that provide maternity care and to programs serving low-income mothers.
To allow implementation of these five initiatives, these funds will support 12 new positions at the Department over the two-year grant period.
To learn more about ARRA funding projects in New York State, please visit http://www.recovery.ny.gov/.