Friday, 05 April 2013 00:00
As a board member of the American Heart Association, I couldn’t be more distraught at the budget that Governor Cuomo and state legislators have agreed upon.
It slashes funding to public health programs critical to heart disease and stroke prevention by more than $2.5 million. Public health programs are supposed to improve the public’s health, and without them, New Yorkers will suffer the effects of ill health.
Obesity continues to be a burden we all bear, even the most fit of us share in the financial cost to the state of obesity. Two-thirds of adults and one-third of children in New York are obese or overweight. We should be trimming our waistlines, not funds for obesity prevention or the state’s healthy heart program. And while the Senate rightfully called for funding for obesity prevention targeted at elementary school children, this proposal is also missing in the final budget.
We have long known that funding the Tobacco Control Program prevents smoking, particularly among youth. This program has taken the greatest hit, woefully underfunded compared to the CDC’s recommended investment, it has been reduced by another $2 million. Why don’t our legislators just hand out cigarettes at schools?
It’s common sense. If we want to lower health care costs, then let’s focus on keeping people healthy. I urge you to contact your legislator, or log onto our grassroots advocacy network, You’reTheCure.org, and tell lawmakers in Albany to fund the public health programs that will help all New Yorkers.
board chair, Long Island
American Heart Association