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2018 County Health Rankings & Roadmap Report Reveals Improvements in Rates of Premature Death, Fewer Children Living in Poverty and Food Environment Index for the Bronx

2018 County Health Rankings & Roadmap Report Reveals Improvements in Rates of Premature Death, Fewer Children Living in Poverty and Food Environment Index for the Bronx

New York, NY (March 15, 2018) —The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s 2018 County Health Rankings & Roadmap Report released yesterday shows that the Bronx is still 62 out of the 62 New York State counties. But that does not tell the whole story.

For example:

• Over the past five years, the rate of premature deaths has gone down from a high of 7,481 to 6,700;

• The rate of children living in poverty has dropped from 44% to 40%;

• The Food Environment index jumped from 6.5 to 7.9 (on a ranking of 0 -10 with 0 being the worst and 10 the best); and

Most importantly, the Bronx is now ranked 40 in Health Behaviors, up from 62 only two years earlier.

As a founding member of #Not62 – The Campaign for a Healthy Bronx, the Institute for Family Health/Bronx Health REACH Coalition is proud of its efforts to serve as a model of community empowerment that demonstrates how to build healthier communities; promote primary prevention through healthy behaviors; increase awareness of racial and ethnic disparities and promote health equity.

Bronx Health REACH Director Charmaine Ruddock remarked, “We are happy to see the improvements in premature death rate and that fewer children are living in poverty, but we are especially excited to see that the Bronx is ranked 40 in Health Behaviors. This is evidence that the work of so many, including the efforts of our coalition members and #Not62 Campaign partners is having an impact.”

Other noticeable improvements in the health and well-being of Bronx residents not captured in the Report include:

• The average percentage of Bronx based African-American/Black students in grades K-5 receiving the required amount of physical education increased from 17.42% in the 2015-2016 school year to 59.12% in the 2016-2017 school year.

• The average percentage of Bronx-based Latino students in grades K-5 receiving the required amount of PE increased from 25.17% to 55.53% during the same time frame.

• The Bronx Bodega Partners Workgroup members are collectively working with 46 bodegas to encourage Bronx residents to purchase healthier foods and beverages. Members include: Montefiore’s Office of Community & Population Health, BronxWorks, Bronx Community Health Network, the Bodega Association, City Harvest, the Hispanic Information and Telecommunications Network, Inc., the American Dairy Association North East and WellCare Health Plans Inc.

• Casita Maria, working with youth and local artists, created four large-scale murals on the grounds of three public housing developments in the South Bronx. Two murals are at the Mott Haven Community Center, one is at the Mitchel Houses playground and the fourth is at the Betances Houses playground. The murals, created to encourage residents and tenants to use the outdoor spaces for physical activity, have resulted in activated public spaces for 9,500+ tenants and local residents. The mural at the Betances Houses playground, that had at one time been permanently locked, has drawn so many residents to it that NYCHA property management decided to open the playground during park hours.

• Led by Transportation Alternatives, improvements made to the Grand Concourse, a major high traffic thoroughfare in the Bronx, is making it safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. There are now expanded sidewalks at the intersection of the Grand Concourse and 153rd Street; closing of a “slip lane” from the Grand Concourse to 153rd Street to add new pedestrian space; expansion of pedestrian islands at intersections of the Grand Concourse and 140th, 144th, 149th, 150th, 151st, 153rd, 156th, and 158th Street. These changes impact more than 600,000 residents making it safer for residents to walk and bike, reducing pedestrian and biking injuries and promoting walking and other exercise.

• A Faith-Based Outreach Initiative made up of 20 churches in the South Bronx engages congregation members and residents to eat more fruits and vegetables from local farmers’ markets. From 2015 to 2017 these churches applied for and distributed approximately 4,500 Health Bucks ($2 coupons) to their congregations to purchase fruits and vegetables at farmers’ markets. To ensure that the Health Bucks were used the churches organized and conducted farmers’ market tours with their congregation members.

The Institute for Family Health/Bronx Health REACH is a founding member of #Not62 – The Campaign for a Healthy Bronx, formed in response to the Bronx being ranked 62 out of the 62 counties in New York State by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s County Health Ranking Report since 2009.