Governor Paterson Announces $890,000 in Funding To Decrease Heart Disease and Stroke

Will Increase Physical Activity and Provide Access to Healthy Foods

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 14, 2009 - Governor David A. Paterson announced today that 12 community organizations will share in $890,000 in funding over the next five years to reduce preventable causes of cardiovascular disease by creating and promoting new or expanded community-level, sustainable opportunities for residents to be more physically active or to eat more healthy foods.

"We must take steps to help create a healthier New York, and access to healthy fruits and vegetables is an important step toward that goal. Equally important is for people to be active," said Governor Paterson. "This state is facing an obesity epidemic, which drives up health care costs and lowers quality of life. This is critical funding that goes directly into neighborhoods to help turn around the problem."

"Research clearly shows that physically active people have better health than those who are sedentary," said state Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D. "About 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity over the course of a week can reduce risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, depression, and some cancers."

Applications for funding from the state's Healthy Heart Program were sought from municipalities and community organizations that proposed innovative projects in largely urban areas that would undertake initiatives such as:

  • Establishing and maintaining grocery stores in low income neighborhoods;
  • Establishing and expanding community gardens;
  • Increasing the availability and consumption of low-fat and fat-free milk in the community;
  • Adopting "complete streets" policies to make it easier for people to walk, roll and bicycle; and
  • Creating pedestrian-friendly walking routes in low-income neighborhoods.

Cardiovascular disease includes coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure and stroke. More than 58,700 New Yorkers died of cardiovascular disease in 2007, representing 40 percent of all deaths in New York.

The winning organizations and their projects are:

Organization   Annual $  
Capital District Community Gardens (Rensselaer County), which will build 10 new community gardens in Albany, Schenectady and Rensselaer counties in low-income, inner-city neighborhoods $72,270
Charles B. Wang Community Health Center (Manhattan), which will increase access, affordability and the use of physical activity programs by youth in Chinatown $82,170
City of Rochester – Department of Community Development (Monroe County), which will create walking routes and indoor venues for physical activity in three low-income Rochester neighborhoods $72,270
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Allegany and Cattaraugus Counties, which will work with 10 communities to establish "complete streets" policies around schools, low-income housing and housing for the elderly. "Complete streets" are designed to be safe and accessible for pedestrians, bicyclists, wheelchair users and transit users. $72,270
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chenango County, which will create five new community gardens in low- or mixed-income rural communities and will create six to eight smaller satellite gardens in mobile home parks and senior centers. $32,732
Harlem Hospital Center (Manhattan), which will create and promote two family walking trails in Harlem, two annual family health walk/runs and walking runs for seniors. $82,170
John T. Mather Memorial Hospital (Suffolk County), which will work with local restaurants to provide smaller portion sizes and healthier meals at a lower cost. $82,170
New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, which will coordinate with public and private partners to open six additional supermarkets in high-need neighborhoods, and will create at least three new spaces for physical activity. $82,170
Parks and Trails New York (Albany County), which will work with nine predominantly low-income rural or urban communities to create new walking/ bicycling trails, and work with two predominantly low-income communities that have existing trails to enhance trail access and/or conduct outreach activities aimed at increasing physical activity. $82,170
Project Hospitality (Staten Island), which will increase the availability and sales of low-fat milk in the Hispanic community of Port Richmond. $82,170
Research Foundation of SUNY – Stony Brook, which will create or expand 10 community gardens in or near low-income communities in Suffolk County. $82,170
University at Albany Foundation/Center for Excellence in Aging Services, which will create or enhance exercise facilities and safe walking paths in the West Hills neighborhood of Albany. $72,270

Physical inactivity, poor nutrition, tobacco use, obesity, hypertension, high blood cholesterol, and diabetes are known risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Studies show that changing the environment helps people change their health behaviors.

"When neighborhoods are walkable and have parks, people are more physically active," Commissioner Daines said, "and when grocery stores stock fresh fruits and vegetables, shoppers will choose them."

Adopting healthy lifestyle changes can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, help people achieve and maintain a healthy weight, and lower their risk of heart disease and stroke. Behavioral changes can also reduce the risk of cancer and diabetes.

For more information on preventing heart disease please visit the State Department of Health Web site at