The health and welfare of Brooklynites is of the utmost importance to Borough President Adams’ administration. This is why health care has been at the top of his agenda during his first year in office. Borough Hall allocated capital funds to support expanded health care facilities at hospitals across the borough as well as investments that support treatment and recovery centers.
Borough President Adams also launched Safe Sleep Brooklyn to educate young parents about the importance of safe sleeping habits for newborns. The educational activity was coupled with a partnership with Delta Children to provide free cribs and play-yards to young single mothers, victims of domestic violence, undocumented immigrants, women in transitional housing, families in homeless shelters, and parents who are unemployed.
Borough President Adams has fought to prevent hospital closures and worked to protect residents from the loss of critical health care services by calling upon the state and federal government to identify the resources necessary to address the ongoing health and community needs of neighborhoods.
He also held an Ebola Town Hall meeting that convened leading health and emergency response experts from across New York City. The Town Hall helped assuage fears in the face of the Ebola scare of 2014 and assisted in the dissemination of important information to prevent the spread of Ebola. In addition, his office partnered with Walgreens to offer free flu vaccinations to Brooklynites across the borough regardless of ability to pay.
Finally, Borough President Adams led anti-obesity campaigns to highlight the importance of healthy living, ranging from calling for the reduction in salt in our foods to hosting yoga exhibitions at Brooklyn Borough Hall.
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Borough President Adams launched the Brooklyn Healthy Workplace Challenge in collaboration with the American Heart Association (AHA) in February 2017, aimed at changing the dietary and exercise habits at businesses across the borough. The initiative is 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. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the metabolic disease, accounting for 90-95 percent of diagnosed cases in the United States. Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death among adults with diabetes.
Both Borough President Adams and AHA have recognized the important role that the environments in which Brooklynites live, work, study, play, and pray impact their health. By addressing these settings directly, their shared mission of the Brooklyn Healthy Workplace Challenge is to make the healthy choice the default choice through a “culture of health,” starting with the food and beverage options both inside and outside one’s place of employment. Borough President Adams has put this initiative into practice at Brooklyn Borough Hall through a new food policy that encourages partner events and outside organizations who utilize the building, and provide food using their resources, to use recommended guidelines for healthier options. A number of local businesses have signed up including the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation (BNYDC), Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, DUMBO Business Improvement District (BID), Forest City Ratner Companies, Industry City, and Park Slope Fifth Avenue BID.
Companies can select one of two main goals when they sign up on AHA’s website, heart.org/foodwhereur, which would earn 25 points for the challenge. The first option is 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 is 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 can earn five points each in the challenge. These include registering as an advocate for “You’re the Cure;” selecting an AHA Icon Day to participate in and host such as National Walking Day in April or World Stroke Day in October; participating at a heart or stroke health event or activity; providing opportunities for staff to incorporate a “heart minute” activity into their workday such as walking breaks or walking meetings, or signing up at least 10 of their employees for Borough President Adams’ annual Bike to Work event during Earth Week in April.
A company earning a total of 50 points or more will receive a Golden Heart, which includes a press release acknowledgment, local paper completion announcement, social media recognition, recognition at select AHA events, and a citation from Borough President Adams. Offices earning a total of 35 points or more will garner a Silver Heart, which includes a press release acknowledgment, local paper completion announcement, social media recognition, and a certificate from Borough President Adams. Any business earning a total of 25 points or more will earn a Bronze Heart, which includes a press release acknowledgment, social media recognition, and an acknowledgment letter from Borough President Adams.
Businesses interested in participating in the Brooklyn Healthy Workplace Challenge can register at heart.org/foodwhereur.