BROOKLYN, NY, February 28, 2017: Today, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams capped American Heart Month — observed nationwide in February — by announcing the winners of the Brooklyn Healthy Workplace Challenge he held over the past year in collaboration with the American Heart Association (AHA). The initiative, aimed at changing the dietary and exercise habits at businesses across the borough, was inspired in part by Borough President Adams’ desire to expand his personal struggle against Type 2 diabetes to a boroughwide battle against diseases sparked by poor food choices. Borough President Adams spoke about the initiative and his mission to reverse the poor health outcomes of countless Brooklynites through preventive lifestyle changes.
“The workplace is at the heart of our day-to-day living, which makes it one of the best places to address heart health and preventive wellness,” said Borough President Adams. “My own reversal of Type 2 diabetes was possible because I made it a priority at home and in the office, from cooking healthy meals to exercising in my workspace. I’m pleased to see some of Brooklyn’s most notable companies step up and support their employees toward healthier habits. They are making a smart investment in their workforce, the heart of their businesses.”
Borough President Adams and AHA congratulated the hundreds of workers who participated through their businesses, highlighting the Golden Heart designation that was earned by Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation (BNYDC) and the Bronze Heart designations garnered by Citi Bike, DUMBO Business Improvement District (BID), IMPACCT Brooklyn, New York City Department of Education (DOE) Division of Human Resources and Talent, and Park Slope Fifth Avenue BID. The Golden Heart designation was awarded for earning a total of 50 points or more in the Brooklyn Healthy Workplace Challenge; offices earning a total of 35 points or more were able to garner a Silver Heart, and any business earning a total of 25 points or more received a Bronze Heart.
“AHA congratulates the businesses and individuals who participated in the Brooklyn Healthy Workplace ‘Heart is Why’ Challenge,” said Kathy Kauffmann, NYC/Long Island senior vice president for AHA. “By accepting this challenge, the Brooklyn business community demonstrated a commitment to improving the places where they live, work, play, and pray. I would also like to thank Borough President Adams and his staff for championing this cause. This challenge prompted workplaces to improve the meals and beverages provided at company meetings and events. It encouraged New Yorkers to get active with AHA’s You’re the Cure advocacy network to support heart-healthy policies and programs, and the challenge promoted opportunities for employees to get physically active throughout the year. This campaign proves that, by working together, we can build a healthier future for all Brooklynites, and all New Yorkers.”
“We are pleased to be recognized for our participation in Borough President Adams’ Brooklyn Healthy Workplace Challenge,” said David Ehrenberg, president and CEO of BNYDC. “By making just a few adjustments, we have been able to offer significantly healthier food options and exercise activities that support heart health for our employees. These changes are now part of our regular course of business, and we hope to see the expansion of a healthier work environment across the entire Yard.”
“Citi Bike’s mission is to make cities greener, more accessible, and healthier,” said Kris Sandor, general manager of Citi Bike. “We’re doing that not only by providing New Yorkers with an active way to get around town, but also in our own Sunset Park headquarters. Through the Brooklyn Healthy Workplace Challenge, we have increased healthy food options for our team members, received a Gold Award as a bike-friendly business, and expanded partnerships with other local companies to promote bike share for their employees. We applaud Borough President Adams for initiating this challenge and for making public health a priority in Kings County.”
Participating companies were able to select one of two main goals when they signed up on AHA’s website, heart.org/foodwhereur, which would earn 25 points for the challenge. The first option was to improve the meals they provide at events and meetings; suggested upgrades include serving whole grain starches, offering one fruit or vegetable with every meal (preferably two), serving foods using healthier cooking preparation methods other than fried, serving fruit instead of traditional desserts, and serving water as the default beverage. The second option was to improve vending machine beverage choices by reducing the number of sugar-sweetened drinks; at least 50 percent of the selections should include water (flavored, plain, and/or sparkling), fat-free (skim) or low-fat (one percent) milk, milk alternatives such as almond or soy milk, 100 percent fruit juice with no added sugar or sweeteners, or other beverages with no more than 10 calories per serving. A variety of opportunities for companies to engage their employees in healthy activities year-round could earn five points each in the challenge.
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