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The Assembly Minority Conference

Heart Health Takes on Greater Meaning This Year

Column from Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay

February is American Heart Month, and it’s important we recognize the importance of heart health and supporting an active lifestyle. This year, Heart Month takes on added significance as we continue to try to manage limitations to our social and recreational activities due to COVID-19. Although daily routines may have been significantly altered, it’s critical to find creative ways to maintain healthy habits. 

According to statistics provided by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, 15 million Americans suffer from coronary heart disease, and 913,000 of those people live in New York state. The Institute is celebrating the month by promoting several events and offering some helpful tips on how to participate. Among some of their suggestions are:

  • Joining the #OurHearts movement on social media. Share heart-healthy habits and encourage friends and family to join in.
  • Commit to walking with a friend or family member and try to coordinate exercise even if you cannot walk together. 
  • Encourage local representatives to share heart disease statistics and raise awareness of heart health on their social media outlets.
  • Take an online cooking class to learn new, healthy recipes. Sign up your kids, too, to teach them the importance of eating right. 

Additionally, Feb. 5 is “National Wear Red Day,” which is the American Heart Association’s special awareness day for women’s heart disease. Today, participants are encouraged to wear red clothing, get educated about exercise and dieting and share photos of their efforts using the hashtags #GoRed or #WearRedDay. 

Closer to home, Oswego Health is hosting a virtual Q&A event on Friday, Feb. 12 at 12:15 p.m. with Dr. David Bass, Dr. Thomas Grady and a representative from the Center for Wound Healing and Lakeside Heart Center.

Finally, for those in the greater Syracuse area, the American Heart Association is sponsoring the Check It! Challenge, which is a four-month initiative to encourage lifestyle changes that can lower blood pressure. They’re asking participants to get their pressure checked twice each month and commit to healthier habits. 

There is no shortage of ways to celebrate American Heart Month. As we reflect on the importance of our health and continue to recover from the fallout of COVID-19, it is my sincere hope all New Yorkers take some time to think about ways they can improve their well-being. 

If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office. My office can be reached by mail at 200 North Second Street, Fulton, New York 13069 and by email at