Seeking 12 women to improve their heart health

Jenniffer Snyder Wright remembers watching the 2016 BetterU class at that year’s Go Red for Women Luncheon, and telling her employer, Andrea Crisafulli, who had invited her to the Luncheon, that she needed to be part of the American Heart Association’s 12-week heart-health improvement program for women.


On Thursday, January 3, at CAP COM FEDERAL Credit Union in Albany,  Wright shared her story of being in the 2017 BetterU class. As she participated in the program, her headaches went away, and swelling in her body decreased. She also gave up what she described as a “nasty daily Frappuccino habit” as part of her wellness journey. She has also become the coordinator for the newly formed BetterU alumnae group.

Wright is sharing her story as the application period for the 2019 BetterU class opens. Last year, 137 women applied. 13 were chosen. This year’s deadline to apply is January 24.

Today, Amelia Waters of the Capital District YMCA staff led exercises – demonstrated by a 2018 BetterU grad – and BetterU co-chair Maria Decker of Maria’s Catering provided healthy snacks. Ellie Wilson, senior dietitian for Price Chopper/Market 32, offered nutrition advice, and Dr. Mandeep Sidhu, cardiologist at Albany Med and immediate past president of the Capital Region Advisory Board of the American Heart Association, talked about how important it is for women to take care of their health.

When the 12-week program begins in late February, BetterU participants receive memberships to the Capital District YMCA, learn about nutrition and food shopping from Wilson, a senior dietitian at Price Chopper, work with a personal trainer and meet weekly for group workouts and support. They celebrate their success with hundreds of attendees at the Go Red for Women Luncheon.

“We are excited to continue our partnership with the American Heart Association and help launch the 2019 BetterU program,” said CAP COM President and CEO Paula Stopera. “BetterU offers the tools for individuals to create not only healthy lifestyle changes, but friendships and confidence to start feeling their best. The longevity of the American Heart Association’s impact is so important, and one of the reasons why CAP COM feels so strongly about getting behind their mission.”

“Core to our mission at the Y is helping individuals achieve greater health and wellness,” said Capital District YMCA President David Brown. “We’re delighted to support the efforts of our partners at the American Heart Association as we work together to transform lives through the BetterU program.”

“Women handle so much that it’s easy to lose track of your health,” said Theresa Petrone Butts, chair of the Capital Region Advisory Board of the American Heart Association, and co-chair of the BetterU subcommittee of the Go Red For Women Luncheon. “As a recent new mom, I’m seeing from a whole new perspective how we put others first, and how limited time to take care of ourselves can be. The BetterU helps health become a priority.”

“For nine years, we’ve watched a group of BetterU women improve their heart health. It is always inspiring and motivating, and I can’t wait to meet this year’s class,” said Maria Decker of Maria’s Catering, member of the Capital Region Advisory Board and co-chair of the BetterU subcommittee of the Go Red For Women Luncheon.

“It’s great to kick off the new year by making health improvements possible for a group of women,” said Dr. Mandeep Sidhu, cardiologist, dean of student research and scholarship at Albany Med, and immediate past president and member of the Capital Region Advisory Board of the American Heart Association. “It’s up to all of us to support our mothers, sisters, friends, who are disproportionately affected by heart disease and stroke.”

“I was part of the first BetterU class,” said Kathleen Pingelski, owner of MicroKnowledge and president of ProKnowledge, and co-chair of the 2019 Go Red For Women Luncheon. “It was a powerful experience and reminded me how critical taking care of our health is. I’m thrilled to be welcoming the ninth class, and am looking forward to a great year of Go Red.”

“Since the Go Red For Women movement was founded 15 years ago, we have saved a lot of lives,” said Cindy Applebaum, market president and publisher of the Albany Business Review, and co-chair of the 2019 Go Red For Women movement. “But heart disease remains the No. 1 killer of women, and stroke is No. 5. Programs like the BetterU are helping to change that statistic. I am looking forward to meeting the women of the 2019 BetterU class.”

Neil and Jane Golub have been leaders in supporting heart health education and care for women in the Capital Region. I have the privilege of echoing that commitment by ensuring BetterU participants can implement the American Heart Association nutrition and lifestyle principles in their own lives,” said Ellie Wilson, senior dietitian at Price Chopper and Market 32. “I love sharing nutrition education and shopping strategies with participants, putting appetite and health together, and ensuring participants understand the resources and benefits available at Price Chopper Pharmacies. I am looking forward to a great program.”

Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy also spoke.

Applications for the BetterU are available at CapitalRegionNYGoRedLuncheon.heart.org, and at locations of the Capital District YMCA.



MVP Leader, Albany Med Cardiothoracic Surgeon Lead Board

Adanna Akujuo, M.D.

Theresa Petrone Butts

 Theresa Petrone Butts, Leader of IT Vendor and Budget Management at MVP Health Care, and Adanna Akujuo, M.D., cardiothoracic surgeon and associate professor of cardiothoracic surgery at Albany Med, are leading the Capital Region Advisory Board for the next two years.

Petrone Butts, who first joined the board in 2012, will be the chair of the board. Dr. Akujuo, who has been on the board for two years, will be its president. They will guide the board and consult with the staff as the American Heart Association implements its mission to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives.

Petrone Butts has been involved in many aspects of the American Heart Association. She supported the youth market division and created, with past board member Scott Momrow, a fundraising event geared toward young professionals called Heart 2 Heart. For the past five years, she has been part of the Go Red for Women committee, co-chairing its annual luncheon in 2017 with Leah Slocum of Peak Residential Partners Team at Williams Kellert. Passionate about health and fitness, Petrone Butts, along with Maria Decker, leads the women’s 12-week heart-health improvement program, BetterU, that is part of the Go Red for Women movement.

Dr. Akujuo has represented the American Heart Association in the media, spoken at events and invited participants to experience her world in Albany Med’s donation of “Be a Med Student for A Day” at the Heart Ball.

“The field has changed so much,” Dr. Akujuo said of her work. “How I evaluate patients is different from what it was six years ago. We can help a lot of people today who couldn’t be helped in the past. The mission of the American Heart Association is near and dear to my heart. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer but is 80 percent treatable. It’s important to get the message of prevention out there, and it’s important that we keep fundraising, so we can advance the treatment for the other 80 percent.”

“The thing about the American Heart Association, whether people realize it or not, is that the mission and work touches people’s lives in so many ways,” Petrone Butts said. “We help people who have suffered a heart attack or stroke; we talk about what you should be feeding yourself or your family; we talk about how to save lives with CPR. This is a critical mission to get behind and support.”

Raising awareness and educating people are top priorities for Petrone Butts and Dr. Akujuo.

“As the No. 1 killer of women, heart disease doesn’t get the attention it should,” Petrone Butts said. “We want to really paint the Capital Region red with the Go Red for Women movement, to raise awareness of women and heart disease, have women pay attention to the numbers of things like blood pressure and cholesterol and what that means for our health.”

“I have a duty as a health care provider to make an impact, and I would like to take the mission of the American Heart Association to places where people are perhaps unaware of it,” Dr. Akujuo said. “I’d like to see growth among people who are aware of the Heart Association – for instance, I’d like to make the Heart Walk big.”

“We are fortunate to have these two leaders advancing our mission, and our work,” said Jeanne Walsh, executive director of the American Heart Association in the Capital Region. “Theresa is entrenched in, and has a lot of knowledge about, the American Heart Association. She’s very organized and thoughtful, and will be a leader who can help others. Dr. Akujuo understands how heart disease and stroke affect patients, their families and caregivers. She will help us create the ‘why’ of what we do. Together, these two women will balance what our organization needs to do to be strategic and successful in our market.”

Petrone Butts grew up in Rhinebeck, is a University at Albany graduate, lives in Rexford with her husband and stepson and expects an addition to the family this fall. Petrone Butts has also been active in support of Huntington’s Disease; part of the Alzheimer’s Association’s Blondes vs. Brunettes touch football game; involved with the Capital Area Young Professionals; and was named a “40 Under 40” by the Albany Business Review in 2012. She has run two full marathons, and many half-marathons, some in support of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training and the Huntington’s Disease Society of America. She and her husband also are general manager and head coach, respectively, and owners of the New York Knockout Women’s Tackle Football Team, the area’s first all-female tackle football team.

Dr. Akujuo is from Nigeria. She studied at York College, part of the City University of New York, graduated from the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, completed her residency at St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Center in New York City and a fellowship at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx.  She lives in Albany. She leads a charity called Voom, which provides heart care and surgery in Nigeria. She travels there twice a year to perform cardiac surgery.

Petrone Butts and Dr. Akujuo are joined on the board by:

  • Kaweeda Adams, Albany City School District
  • Jack Bevilacqua, Albany County International Airport Fire Department
  • Alan Boulos, M.D., Albany Med
  • Jennifer Corcoran Conway, Tully Rinckey
  • Andrew Dahlen, Beech-Nut
  • Maria Decker, Maria’s Catering and 84 Ferry, Troy
  • Kate Fruscione, CAP COM Federal Credit Union
  • Bill Galvin, PharMEDium
  • Kathy Lanni, SEFCU
  • Kristin Meehan, KeyBank
  • Glenn Rockwood, Optimum Fulfillment
  • Mandeep Sidhu, M.D., Albany Med
  • Brandon Stabler, Columbia Development
  • Dorothy Urschel, St. Peter’s Health Partners
  • Lisa Wolcott, Capital District YMCA

Essex County passes Tobacco 21

Today, Sept. 4, the Essex County Board of Supervisors took an important step in protecting the youth of the county by raising the minimum legal sales age for tobacco products to 21. This is the first county in the North Country to pass the measure.

The American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society applauded the board’s action.

Bob Elling, paramedic, resident of Essex County and member of the American Heart Association’s New York State Advocacy Committee, attended the meeting, and has been a staunch advocate of Tobacco 21.

“We know that the use of e-cigarettes – especially JUUL’s – has increased dramatically in all of New York state, and I am glad that the board of supervisors saw the importance of keeping all tobacco products out of the hands of our youth,” Elling said. “An Institute of Medicine report shows that by increasing the sales age of tobacco products to 21, there will be a 12 percent reduction in the smoking rate. Smoking is a leading risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and many other chronic diseases. Keeping tobacco products away from our youth sets them up for longer, healthier lives.”

“Tobacco 21 just makes sense. It can improve health and help combat the huge health costs of smoking,” said Julie Hart, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network New York Government Relations Director. “We are thrilled Essex County is leading the way in the North Country by putting health before special interest groups.”

With Essex County’s passage of Tobacco 21, there are now 23 local jurisdictions in the state that have passed the measure.




Essex County residents, a letter for your legislator

On Tuesday, Sept. 4, at 10 a.m., the Essex County Board of Supervisors will vote on Tobacco 21, a measure that would raise the minimum legal sales age for tobacco products to 21. If you live in Essex County, would you contact your legislator and ask them to pass this measure? We’ve provided a letter you can adapt, as well as a link that will give you contact info to YOUR supervisor. Tobacco 21 will protect our youth from the ravages of smoking!

Here’s the link – 


Here’s the letter – 

Dear Town Supervisor,

As a resident of Essex County, and your constituent, I am very pleased to see that the Board of Supervisors is considering Tobacco 21. This common-sense legislation will protect the health of our young adults by raising the legal sales age of tobacco products to 21.

With all the misinformation out there about electronic cigarettes and, specifically, JUUL’s, it’s important to remember that science is on our side. An Institute of Medicine report shows that by increasing the sales age of tobacco products to 21, there will be a 12% reduction in the smoking rate. This means future generations have the potential to be smoke free. With tobacco use remaining the leading preventable cause of heart disease and stroke, the nation’s number one and number five causes of mortality, any measure that can help tobacco addiction is critical.

By passing this law once and for all, we are keeping youth from ever picking up their first tobacco product and we are eliminating the main source of tobacco products for this age group, their friends. After all, a sixteen-year-old is far more likely to know an eighteen-year-old than a twenty-one-year-old.  And, if a person makes it to 21 without ever smoking, the chances of them ever doing so drops to only 2%. This is extremely important given that 95% of smokers report starting before they turned 21.

With 19 municipalities in New York, Albany, Onondaga and Cortland Counties, having passed Tobacco 21, I am eager to see the same health protection extended to our residents.

With over $10 Billion dollars spent annually on health expenditures from tobacco related diseases, this legislation saves lives and money. Please support Tobacco 21 at the upcoming vote on Tuesday, September 4th.

Thank you!



Essex County could be the next to pass Tobacco 21

The American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association are urging the Essex County Board of Supervisors to be the next county in New York to pass Tobacco 21, which would raise the minimum legal sales age to 21, thus protecting the North Country’s youth from the extreme dangers of smoking.

The Board of Supervisors will vote on Tobacco 21 during their 10 a.m. meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 4.

Smoking is a leading risk factor for heart disease, cancer, lung disease and a host of other chronic illnesses,” said Bob Elling, Lake Placid resident, member of the New York state Advocacy Committee for the American Heart Association, a paramedic and paramedic instructor. “As a paramedic, I’ve seen the harm tobacco products cause. I urge the Essex County Board of Supervisors to pass this important measure now to prevent health damages – and high costs – later.”

“Tobacco 21 just makes sense.  It is a win-win for our health and our pocketbooks.  By voting yes, the Essex County Board of Supervisors can help prevent kids from ever picking up their first cigarette. The longer we can delay initiation of tobacco use, the less likely it is that our youth will begin smoking,” said Julie Hart, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, New York government relations director.  “Given tobacco-related health care costs New Yorkers $10.4 billion each year, with state and local Medicaid costs totaling $3.3 billion, tobacco 21 also makes financial sense.”

“Today, 28.8% of high school students in New York State use tobacco products – and close to 95 percent of smokers try their first cigarette before the age of 21,” said Kristina Wieneke, Director of Public Policy for the American Lung Association in New York.  “New Yorkers across the state have proven they are ready to raise the age of sale and protect our young people from beginning a dangerous addiction.  If Essex County joins the movement, more than 75% of New York residents would be covered by local Tobacco 21 laws, and it would send a clear message to Albany that it’s time for a statewide law to protect all New York youths.”

Twenty-three localities have already passed Tobacco 21. This is the second time that the Essex County Board of Supervisors has considered the measure.




Albany Med Stroke Coordinator Supports CycleNation

Adrienne Weitzel, RN, MSN Stroke Program Coordinator, Albany Med Committee Member, CycleNation

Adrienne Weitzel, RN, MSN, Stroke Coordinator at Albany Med, shares her reason for being part of #CycleNation in the Capital Region. 

Our Community is Why…..

Caring for stroke patients truly takes a team approach to ensure our patients in our communities receive the optimal stroke care from recognition of stroke like symptoms to discharge.  As the Stroke Coordinator at Albany Medical Center, I have the pleasure of helping stroke patients and their families through this difficult process through collaboration with our community, regional transferring facilities, and within my own organization.  Stroke care starts with educating our community about the signs and symptoms of a stroke, what to do if someone is experiencing stroke like symptoms, and the risk factors associated with a stroke.

For me, collaborating with the American Heart/American Stroke Association and CycleNation is a way to give back to my community.  This event will bring Stroke to the forefront of our region, and has the potential to educate many of our community members about stroke.   Making those in our community more aware of stroke can change so many lives!!!!


Let Essex County legislators know you want Tobacco 21!

Our Government Relations Director Caitlin O’Brien has an update from Essex County, where the board of supervisors will vote again on Tobacco 21 on Sept. 4. Will you help? The list of legislators to contact is at the bottom of Caitlin’s update. 

The American Heart Association is thrilled to see Tobacco 21 getting a second chance in Essex County. Tobacco 21 would raise the minimum legal sales age for tobacco products to 21.

Tobacco and e-cigarette use remains a deadly addiction, one that is not going away on its own. 73,000 New York high schoolers currently smoke, and 10,600 high school students become daily smokers each year. This sets them up for a lifetime of chronic, often fatal diseases.

Across the state, Tobacco 21 is very popular. We know that 23 localities across the State have enacted their own Tobacco 21 laws – a major accomplishment. This means roughly 75% of New Yorkers live in an area where youth are protected from the tactics of the tobacco industry.

We also know why Tobacco 21 is so popular, and it’s because it works. Tobacco 21 will successfully prevent young adults from ever picking up their first tobacco product. We have the science to prove it. A 2015 report form the Institute of Medicine found that raising the legal sales age of tobacco products to 21 would reduce the smoking rate by 12%. The Institute of Medicine also looked into the impact raising the age to 19 would have. They found it to be minimal.

By increasing the purchase age, high school students will have a harder time getting tobacco products and giving them to their younger friends.  Simply put, kids in high school do not “hang out” with 21-year-olds.

It’s important to point out the important role local governments play, especially given the inaction at the state level. Until we see a state-wide Tobacco 21 policy, it is the job of local governments, like the Essex County Board of Supervisors, to step in and issue the necessary public health protections.

Will you join us in asking the Essex County Board of Supervisors to pass Tobacco 21? Tobacco 21 is on the agenda for Sept. 4. Simply send an email to the addresses of the Board of Supervisors, listed below, with this sentence: Please save lives by pasting Tobacco 21 in Essex County.

gmorrow@frontiernet.net; supervisor@townofcrownpointny.gov; etown@etownny.com; essextownsupervisor@gmail.com; supervisor@townofjayny.gov; supervisor1@townofkeeneny.gov; Supervisor@lewistownhall.com; supervisor@townofminervany.gov; supervisor@townofmoriahny.gov; supervisor@newcombny.com; super@northelba.org; supervisor@townofnorthhudsonny.gov; marnell@schroon.net; starmand@roadrunner.com; supervisor@townofticonderoga.org; supervisor@westportny.net; supervisor@townofwillsborony.gov; randypreston@townofwilmington.org


First CycleNation event hits the Capital Region

Members of the CycleNation committe are ready to “ride the revolution.” Join them Sept. 27 at Brown’s Revolution Hall.

The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, the world’s leading voluntary health organization devoted to fighting cardiovascular disease and stroke, will host the Capital Region’s first CycleNation event at Brown’s Revolution Hall, 425 River St., Troy, on Thursday, Sept. 27, from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The event will feature 50 stationary bikes taking up the floor, with teams of four to eight already forming to raise $2,000 or more per bike. Upbeat music and activities designed to raise awareness about stroke will complement the evening’s cycling; 11 bikes are already booked, so the Heart Association encourages participants to form their teams and register now.

Cycling will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., followed by a one-hour social gathering to celebrate the success of CycleNation.

By igniting New Yorkers to pedal together, CycleNation aims to break the cycle of unhealthy behaviors and advocate for heart and brain health.

“Stroke used to be the No. 3 killer in the U.S., but scientific advances improved that statistic, and now it’s No. 5. Yet, it remains the leading cause of long-term disability in our nation. CycleNation can continue to fund the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s research funding, so that more people can live long and healthy lives,” said Dr. Alan Boulos, chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at Albany Med and member of the Capital Region Advisory Board of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

Paula Symanski is a stroke survivor, and an avid cyclist. In 2016, when she was the Stroke Ambassador for the American Heart Association, she re-created her ambulance ride from Ellis Medicine to Albany Med on her own bicycle. Symanski is part of the committee that is planning the first CycleNation event in the Capital Region.

“I had to re-learn many skills that people take for granted,” Symanski said. “I think people are aware of the preventative benefits of cycling but may not know that the symmetry and repetition of cycling helps with stroke recovery. It helps with balance, proprioception and retraining muscles affected by stroke. Cycling for me is an equalizer. Sometimes when I am on my bike, I forget that I have deficits left from my stroke. I’m part of CycleNation because there is still work to be done.”

Nearly 81,000 people in the U.S. die from heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. In fact, someone in the U.S. dies from stroke about every 4 minutes and from heart disease about once every 84 seconds. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, heart disease is still the No. 1 killer of all Americans and stroke is the No. 5 killer and the leading cause of long-term disability.

Recent studies suggest that physical activity, like cycling, can help maintain strong brain function and mental sharpness. Cycling strengthens heart muscles, lowers resting pulse and reduces cholesterol. Cycling can also prevent heart disease and aid in faster recovery for stroke patients.

CycleNation is a movement to empower Americans to use cycling to help improve their health while raising funds to continue vital community programs and support research to end stroke and heart disease.

To learn more about the “party on a bike,” including information about recruiting a team, how to register and fundraising tips, contact Jessica Pettengill at 518-626-8759 or Jessica.Pettengill@heart.org. Information is also available at CycleNation.org/CapitalRegionNY. A video showing events in other locations can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxT1qgKoNy4.

CycleNation is nationally sponsored by Amgen Cardiovascular. CAP COM Federal Credit Union is a local sponsor of CycleNation. 

The CycleNation committee in the Capital Region includes Jack Bevilacqua, Paramedic, Albany County International Airport Fire Department; Amanda Blanchard, Coldwell Banker Prime Properties; Laurie Bryda, State University Construction Fund; Roslyn Cardish, SEFCU; Katrina Dinan; Rosella Elliott,  vice president, Steps for Stroke; group leader, Brain Injury Association of New York State Women’s Support Group; Kate Fruscione, CAP COM Federal Credit Union; Bobbi Hammond; Robbie Maccue, Paramedic Captain, Town of Colonie EMS; Paula Symanski, The Community Hospice; and Katie Yarbrough, CSL Behring.


Cardiac Kid throws out first pitch at Valley Cats game

Connor Daddario, left, and his sister Maddie, celebrated the first anniversary of Connor’s open-heart surgery last week. Connor will throw out the first pitch at the Valley Cats game on July 19.

 There will be a group of special heroes among all the superheroes at Thursday’s Valley Cats game. Thirteen of the American Heart Association’s Cardiac Kids – children born with congenital heart defects – will be sporting their red capes at the game.

One of them, Connor Daddario, 2, of Niskayuna, will throw out the first pitch at 6:45 p.m.

A blip on an ultrasound sent Connor’s mom, Courtney Daddario, to a specialist when she was 23 weeks pregnant. She never expected to hear that her baby had a 50/50 chance of surviving.

Connor has done more than just survive – he is thriving and has no limitations. ON THURSDAY, JULY 19, AT 6:45 P.M., CONNOR (with a little help from his Dad, Matt) WILL THROW OUT THE FIRST PITCH AT THE TRI-CITY VALLEY CATS game at the Joseph L. Bruno Stadium at 80 Vandenburgh Ave. in Troy.

Connor and 13  other Cardiac Kids will be attending the game as guests of the Valley Cats.

“July 13 was the one-year anniversary of Connor’s open-heart surgery,” Courtney

Daddario said. “He was born with an atrioventricular septal defect and cleft artery. With all the

wiring in his chest, his chest is stronger than many other people’s.”

Connor will be the Heart Hero of the 2019 Capital Region Heart Walk and Run, set for next

June. Daddario hopes to use the year to raise awareness about congenital heart defects, which

affect 1 in 100 children.

“I didn’t even know children could be born with a heart defect,” Daddario said. “I would like this

year to be all about pediatric heart health and keeping your heart healthy.”




Update From Albany: Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Caitlin O’Brien, our government relations director in New York State, sums up our activities from the recently concluded legislative session – and gives us a forecast of what’s to come. 

New York’s Legislative Session came to an anti-climactic end on June 20th. With continued political turmoil in the Senate stemming from an even number of Democrat Senators and Republican Senators, the Legislature failed to pass any significant public health legislation. While this is disappointing, thanks to the advocacy efforts of our volunteers who made phone calls, sent emails, and tweeted at their elected officials, one of our top priorities, Tobacco 21, was very close to passing in the Assembly. Tobacco 21 successfully passed through two committees and was taken up for a vote on the Assembly floor, but laid aside for debate. In the months leading up to the start of next year’s legislative session in January, we’ll be working hard to keep up the momentum surrounding Tobacco 21 so we can finally get it passed state-wide, once and for all.

Since it’s never too early to start campaign planning for next year’s policy priorities, here’s a run through of what I’ll be working on this summer.

  1. Healthy vending machines on state owned property: there’s no reason we shouldn’t be able to snack healthily, especially in places like parks and state office buildings. After all, healthy eating means less money spent preventing and treating diseases like diabetes and hypertension. This summer, I’ll be working on the language of the bill with the legislative sponsor, Assemblyman Jeffery Dinowitz (D)-Bronx.
  2. Making New York’s kids the healthiest in the nation: keeping kids healthy means keeping them physically active and eating healthy. Physical activity, specifically, Physical Education can lead to better performance in school, and higher chances of living healthier lives. Frequent and quality physical education in schools should be something parents don’t have to worry about, but unfortunately, not all school districts can provide the level of physical education necessary.
  3. Kids’ meals: sugary beverages are disastrous for kids’ health. With one in three children considered obese or overweight, any measure that can help keep children at a healthy weight are important. I’ll be working with our partner organizations to develop a policy requiring kids’ meals to offer healthy alternatives to sugary drinks. We need to make the healthy choice, the easy choice by providing water, milk, and 100% juice to kids when they eat out.

Your help matters – please send me an email to let me know if you’ll join us in passing legislation in the coming year.  You can always reach me at Caitlin.obrien@heart.org. Thank you!