Physical Activity Options for Broome County Residents Living with Disabilities

BINGHAMTON, NY - The Broome County Health Department Steps to a HealthierNY program and the Broome County YMCA will co-host a press conference to demonstrate newly purchased land based equipment specifically designed for people with physical limitations and disabilities. The ceremony will take place at the Binghamton YMCA located at 61 Susquehanna Street at 10 a.m. on October 11th.

The Broome County Steps to a HealthierNY program aims to reduce the burden of obesity, diabetes and asthma through community based intervention strategies. One of its methods to achieve this goal is by establishing collaborative partnerships with organizations that can enhance a person’s ability to engage in physical activity, make better nutritional choices, and eliminate tobacco use. The Broome County YMCA is a premiere partner in advancing these goals.

According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) obesity and overweight, resulting from poor diet and physical inactivity, have reached epidemic proportions in the United States. “The disabled residents of Broome County are not an exception to these risk factors, and many are at an even higher risk for developing chronic diseases,” stated Claudia Edwards, Public Health Director for the Broome County Health Department. “The Steps program is charged with helping all of our priority populations here in Broome County, especially the elderly and disabled populations who can substantially benefit from more education and support,” Edwards said.

Last year the Broome County YMCA was awarded funds by the YMCA-USA to install pool chair lifts at their facilities. The pool chair lifts have received positive reviews from disabled and elderly residents seeking options to engage in physical activity. To further enhance the physical activity options for disabled residents in Broome County, the YMCA and the Broome County Steps to a HealthierNY program collaboratively wrote a grant to the YMCA-USA for funds to purchase the land based equipment.

Because of the commitment demonstrated by the Steps program and the YMCA to seek funding opportunities that help the disabled and elderly people become more active, the Southern Tier Independence Center (STIC) commended them with outstanding consumer service awards at their 2006 annual awards banquet. Wes Wilson, YMCA member and Steps consumer, who lives with a disability stated, "A disability is not the end of life. You can still have a lot of fun in a wheelchair. I do everything I want; I just find different ways of doing it.”

To learn more about the Broome County Health Department’s Steps to a HealthierNY program, contact Mary McFadden by phone at 607.778.3929 or e-mail at mmcfadden=$Edomain;?>@co.broome.ny.us.

Steps to a HealthierNY is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as part of Steps to a HealthierUS, a national program focusing on the prevention of diabetes, obesity and asthma and addressing related risk factors—poor nutrition, physical inactivity and tobacco use and exposure. For more information about Steps to a HealthierNY in Broome County, please visit www.goBroomeCounty.com or call 607.778.3929.

Steps to a HealthierUS Cooperative Agreement is a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) program advancing the HealthierUS goal to help Americans live longer, better and healthier lives. Through funding of community-based interventions, this program aims to reduce the burden of diabetes, obesity and asthma, and address three related risk behaviors—poor nutrition, physical inactivity and tobacco use and exposure. For more information, please visit www.healthierus.gov/steps.