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Goshen, N.Y. – Orange County Health Commissioner Dr. Irina Gelman and her staff are recognizing National Minority Health Month, and its theme “Active & Healthy,” by highlighting awareness about the important role an active lifestyle plays in keeping us healthy.
“Even small amounts of moderate physical activity throughout the can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases that are more prevalent or severe among racial and ethnic minority groups,” Gelman said.
Cardiovascular disease and diabetes all affect minority populations disproportionately in Orange County. Preventing chronic disease and promoting health initiatives for women, infants and children, particularly in the cities of Newburgh, Middletown and Port Jervis, where the concentration of minorities reside, are two area of priority.
Diseases of the heart are the leading cause of death across Orange County, with a mortality rate of 189.9 per 100,000 for black residents vs. 180 per 100,000 for white residents and 122.1 for Hispanics, as reported by the NYS Department of Health. According to the American Diabetes Association, African-Americans are more prone to developing serious complications from diabetes. In Orange County, the diabetes mortality rate per 100,000 for blacks is 26.7, 18.5 for Hispanics and 15.4 for whites.
Healthy Orange is an initiative of the Orange County Department of Health that addresses the three vital issues of improved nutrition, increased physical activity and a tobacco-free lifestyle to improve the overall health of County residents. The mission of the Healthy Orange Team is to promote a healthy lifestyle for children and families in the County, and specifically targets the three cities, through education, communication, collaborations, advocacy, and policy change. Healthy Orange partners with a wide range of community organizations who share a common goal of promoting healthy lifestyles for families in Orange County.
As part of this initiative, the Healthy Orange Schools and Communities Program strives to implement sustainable policy, system and environmental changes in the targeted high-need school districts of Newburgh Enlarged City School District, Port Jervis City School District and Enlarged City School District of Middletown and the communities where the students and their families live. This program works to increase access to healthy foods and opportunities for physical activities within these school districts.
For more information on the Healthy Orange initiative, or to become a community partner, contact Meg Oakes at:845-360-6680.
For more information on physical fitness, visit the Centers for Disease Control: www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity.
Also, to learn more about the physical and recreational opportunities available within the Orange County Parks system, visit:www.orangecountynyparks.com.