State Health Commissioner Novello Encourages New York's Families to Participate in National TV-Turnoff Week

Activities Build on State's Commitment to Childhood Obesity Prevention

ALBANY, April 25, 2005- State Health Commissioner Antonia C. Novello, M.D., M.P.H., Dr.P.H. today announced several events to coincide with this week's national TV-Turnoff observance to promote healthier lifestyles among New Yorkers.

"Poor nutrition and lack of physical fitness can lead to obesity in children and result in the development of chronic, lifelong health conditions," Dr. Novello said. "We are encouraging children and families to eat more fruits and vegetables and participate in physical fitness to help them maintain healthier lifestyles."

Governor Pataki led the effort to promote healthy lifestyles among New Yorkers, when, in his January State of the State Address, he announced his soon-to-be unveiled statewide campaign, Activ8kids! This new initiative will serve as the umbrella for new and ongoing obesity prevention initiatives and focuses on instilling healthy habits in New York's children, including: consuming five (5) fruits and vegetables, engaging in at least one (1) hour of physical activity; and reducing television time and video game playing to fewer than two (2) hours each day (5+1+2=8).

New York is recognized nationally as a leader in addressing childhood obesity. For years, the Department has partnered with schools, day care centers, business and community groups through its Eat Well, Play Hard (EWPH) initiative to encourage increased physical activity and consumption of fruits and vegetables and dairy products that contain only one percent fat or are fat free.

The following community-based EWPH projects are hosting events this week:

  • In Chemung County, Horseheads High School will hold a free swim, sponsored by EWPH and the Elmira School District on Tuesday, April 26 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the First Arena. The event is free of charge. Paramount Lanes, in Chemung County is offering free bowling on Thursday, April 28 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  • In Cortland County, the Marathon Fitness Center will hold a ribbon-cutting event for their paved walking routes and the youth bureau will sponsor a family skate night on April 29, 2005.
  • Throughout the month of April, Westchester County will be highlighting TV-Turnoff Week as part of their year long, "Be Fit Westchester" campaign and will hand out small rewards for children who participate.
  • Madison County will be holding nine free events throughout the County, which will run for about one and one half weeks in April.
  • In Erie County, Southern Erie School will be holding an evening event with parents and children, including a DJ and scavenger hunt activities using campaign themes.
  • Jefferson County will be kicking off a community garden in conjunction with TV-Turnoff Week.
  • In Rockland County, a Youth Festival is scheduled to take place at Rockland County Community College showcasing activities for children and a Countywide Girl Scout Conference at the Palisades Mall in Nyack. A local Barnes and Noble will also hold a family reading night focusing on the Berenstain Bears "Too Much TV" book.
  • Schenectady County's EWPH Community project is sponsoring a poster contest at the Van Corlaer School and will hand out swimming passes to the entire student body for use at the local YWCA swimming pool.
  • Onondaga County will be providing schools with a packet of information and will focus on large after school programs.

For more information on the events listed above please contact:

County Program Contact Info.
Chemung County Schuyler-Chemung-Tioga BOCES 607-739-3581
Cortland County Cortland County DOH 607-758-5509
Erie County Cornell Cooperative Extension 716-858-2726
Jefferson County Jefferson Co. Public Health Service 315-786-3710
Madison County Madison County DOH 315-363-5490
Onondaga County Onondaga County DOH 315-435-3280
Rockland County Rockland County DOH 845-364-3612
Schenectady County Cornell Cooperative Extension 518-372-1622

Last week, as part of these efforts, Dr. Novello joined children and teachers at the Albany County Opportunities, Inc., Early Learning Center in the Arbor Hill community of Albany, to promote the importance of healthy lifestyles, discuss obesity.

For more information on the Eat Well Play Hard program, please visit the New York State Department of Health web site (http://www.health.ny.gov).