State Health Commissioner Promotes Exercise as Key to Good Health During Public Health Week

Statewide Stops Highlight Mandatory Recess Program for Rochester School Children and Heart-Healthy Initiative in Albany

ALBANY, N.Y. -- (April 6, 2016) New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker is making stops in Rochester and Albany during National Public Health Week (April 4-10) to urge New Yorkers to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle.

National Public Health Week recognizes the important work that public health professionals, public health agencies, hospitals, community organizations, local governments and others are doing with their partners to help New York achieve the state's Prevention Agenda goal of becoming the healthiest state. The Prevention Agenda is the blueprint for state and local action to improve the health of New Yorkers in five priority areas: preventing chronic diseases; promoting a safe and healthy environment; promoting healthy women, infants and children; promoting mental health and preventing substance abuse; and preventing sexually-transmitted diseases, health care associated infections and vaccine-preventable diseases.

On Tues., April 5, Dr. Zucker will visit with elementary school students at School 10, Walter Cooper Academy, in Rochester during recess – a highly successful program that is now mandatory in the interest of encouraging active lifestyles The program was initiated by Healthi Kids, a Finger Lakes community-based coalition that, in addition to helping institute at least 60 minutes of in-school physical activity, also advocates for policy and practice changes for better school food, safer play areas and higher food standards at childhood centers.

"Obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death in the country and contributes to the development of many chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure," Commissioner Zucker said. "Mandatory recess programs like the one at School 10 promote active lifestyles that helps children maintain a healthy weight and avoid chronic illness both now and in the future."

On Wed., April 6, Dr. Zucker will participate in the American Heart Association's 'National Walking Day' when he meets up with Albany County officials to walk the city of Albany's new historic walking path in the South End. The path was developed through a partnership with the Albany County Department of Health, the American Heart Association, the Healthy Capital District Initiative, Albany Medical Center, St. Peter's Health Partners, the YMCA, and Whitney M. Young, Jr. Health Center as well as local residents and community members to encourage physical activity. In addition to improved heart health, walking helps combat diabetes, which is one of three priorities in the Albany County Community Health Improvement Plan, created in response to the state's Prevention Agenda.

In addition to highlighting the benefits of exercise, Commissioner Zucker will spend the week commemorating public health milestones, such as the New York State Department of Health's 30-year collaboration with the University at Albany's School of Public Health and the 10th anniversary of the state's opioid overdose prevention program. The commissioner will also make a stop in Waterloo to honor the Seneca County Health Department successfully containing an outbreak of Hepatitis A last November.

In conjunction with National Public Health Week, Commissioner Zucker identified 23 local health department teams that have been recognized on the 2016 Public Health Works! Honor Roll. This annual Honor Roll recognizes the local public health workforce as essential to meeting the state's Prevention Agenda goals.

First declared in 1995, National Public Health Week is an initiative of the American Public Health Association. It brings communities from all corners of the country together during the first full week of April to recognize the importance of public health policies and highlight issues vital to the overall health of the nation.

For more information about National Public Health Week visit:

For more information about Healthi Kids visit

For more information about the Prevention Agenda 2013-2018: New York State's Health Improvement Plan visit: