Albany University Aims To Get People Walking

2009-04-01 12:58
Albany University Aims To Get People Walking

The University at Albany School of Public Health's Prevention Research Center (PRC) has partnered with Parks and Trails NY to establish year-round walking programs in rural communities across New York State. On Thursday, April 2, PRC will host a "Keep Walking" community summit, designed to help communities develop or improve existing programs. The summit will be highlighted by a half-hour community walk around the grounds of the School of Public Health, located on UAlbany's East Campus. The community walk is scheduled to begin at 11:15 a.m.

More than 1,000 people have become involved in PRC walking programs, which use local resources like high school hallways and outdoor trails, to exercise throughout the year. Participants have logged millions of miles in an effort to improve their health and well being through walking.

PRC has already helped launch programs in the following communities: Fort Plain (Montgomery County), Fort Edward (Washington County), Salem (Washington County), Stillwater (Saratoga County), Mamakating (Sullivan County), and Harlem Valley (Duchess County).

"This program provides a very strong health benefit for people. They just feel better," said Anna Zendell, project coordinator at PRC. "There is also a very strong social aspect. In rural communities, people can feel isolated during the winter, especially seniors, so this way they have a place to go to walk and meet people."

During the summit, participants will identify strategies for promoting and sustaining their walking programs and about potential partnership opportunities, as well as other ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

The Nationwide PRC program is a network of academic centers, public health agencies, and community partners conducting applied research and practice in chronic disease prevention and control. Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) since 1986, there are now 33 centers around the nation based in schools of public health or medicine.

The Mission of the Albany Prevention Research Center is to develop diverse partnerships within and across communities to design, conduct, evaluate and disseminate the findings of studies that show innovative ways in which the resources of the community (e.g., within households, schools, work sites, faith-based organizations, etc.) can promote the health of community residents and reduce the burden of chronic disease.

Students and faculty at UAlbany's globally-oriented School of Public Health study the most profound health issues facing us today: the origins of disease such as cancer, the threat of bioterrorism, the spread of HIV/AIDS, and other emerging diseases, the lack of affordable and accessible health care for individuals and families, environmental hazards, substance abuse and social violence, maternal mortality in developing countries, the promises and threats of genetic engineering, and protecting food and water supplies.

Through its partnership with the New York State Department of Health, the UAlbany School of Public Health offers students access to internships at the Health Department, Albany Medical College, and a variety of other public and private health institutions throughout New York.

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