Wednesday, July 20, 2011

One month down in health challenge

By Brendan McHugh – Bronx Press Blog/Riverdale Review

Senator Gustavo Rivera hosted the first Bronx CAN Health Initiative Check-In over the weekend, focusing on nutrition and healthy eating habits, at the Kingsbridge Heights Community Center. At the kick-off in June, Rivera committed to losing 20 pounds by October 24, the last day of the Initiative.
Rivera hopes to lost 20 lbs. by October.

Saturday, he weighed in at 293 lbs., down six pounds from 299 lbs. in June.

“There are several factors as to why the Bronx is the unhealthiest county, including less healthy options than other boroughs, but we can take ownership of our personal health habits and behaviors,”  Rivera said. “I live in the same community and walk by the same fried chicken spots and pizza parlors, but I have made a commitment to lead a healthier life and to help educate my neighbors about the importance of developing healthy habits that will last a lifetime.”

He referenced the pizza place Emilio's, across from the Kingsbridge Armory, as a dangerous vice. "They have the best calzones," he said, adding that he only has them every so often now. "You keep the really bad stuff to the minimum, but you really enjoy it when you have it."

Rivera said he walks to Planet Fitness on Broadway, about a mile from his apartment, about five days a week. He has focused on cardio and abdominal workouts. 

The Bronx - and specifically Rivera's 33rd State Senate district - is last or near last in many obesity and diabetic statistics. 

“Holding these events and urging Bronxites to participate in this program is an excellent idea because it is not only helping people to lose weight, but helping people in our community learn healthy habits that will be with them for the rest of their lives,” said Waheebah Shamsid-Deen, a Bronx CAN Health Challenge participant. “I have already lost three pounds as part of the challenge but plan to lose more in a healthy way, participating in the Bronx CAN Health Challenge.”

Jump below for more information about the challenge, as well as to find out who else has joined the challenge.

The event included a healthy cooking demonstration from the Nutrition and Health Program Cornell University Cooperative as well as the opportunity for Bronx CAN Health participants to sit down with nutritionists to discuss how to make healthier choices in their daily lives. Participants also received free healthy recipes cookbooks and Green Bucks coupons for NYC Green Carts. 
District Leader Kenny Agosto has lost 10 lbs. during the challenge.
“I want to thank Senator Gustavo Rivera for asking me to participate in the Bronx CAN Health Challenge,” said Kenny Agosto, District Leader in District 80 and Bronx CAN Health Challenge participant. “I know I didn’t gain all this weight overnight and that I won’t lose it all overnight, but with Senator Rivera’s help I am getting on track to having a healthy lifestyle and have already lost 10 pounds."

We asked Rivera last month if he planned to bring his challenge to Albany, and he told us he's focusing on the Bronx first, but hopes to lead by example for his colleagues upstate.

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