Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Senator Jeff Klein Joins TV Star Padma Lakshmi and Students from JHS 141 in Riverdale to Kick-off Teen Health Awareness Campaign

Launch of New Online Survey for Teens, and Education Fund Announced

   At the State Capitol on Wednesday, Padma Lakshmi, host of Bravo TV’s Top Chef and co-founder of the Endometriosis Foundation of America, joined Senator Jeff Klein (D-Westchester/Bronx) and members of the Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference to kick-off a Teen Health Awareness Campaign.  The campaign focuses on reducing adolescent obesity, educating students about the health consequences of short and long-term alcohol and substance abuse, and raising awareness among young women and health professionals about endometriosis, an often undiagnosed but debilitating disease.  March is Endometriosis month.  

Senator Klein was joined at the press conference by seventh graders from JHS 141, a middle school in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. Following the press conference, the students received a private tour of the Capitol.

As part of the awareness campaign, the Independent Democratic Conference launched a new online survey, www.TeenHealthNY.Com, which encourages young New Yorkers to “weigh-in” on how much they know about these important health issues. will provide policymakers with input straight from the source about where additional educational resources may be needed.  Additional educational resources for these three health areas will be provided through a newly created Healthy Teen Awareness and Education Fund.  The IDC, which included the Fund as part of this year’s Senate budget resolution, is hoping to raise as much as $1 million for the Fund’s programs through voluntary taxpayer donations, beginning next year. If enacted in the state’s final budget package this year, the Healthy Teen Awareness and Education Fund will appear as a “check-off box” on all future state income tax forms. The check-off box will enable New Yorkers to make donations directly on their tax form.

Senator Klein said, “Focusing on our teens’ health is critical to New York’s future.  By learning more about where our current health education is lacking, we can more effectively and efficiently distribute these additional resources. The purpose of the Teen Health Fund is simple -- we want to give kids the tools they need to make smart choices about their health. By creating this fund and directing resources where they’re needed, we can ensure that New York students are being given a full spectrum of health education. I am thrilled that seventh graders from JHS 141 in my district were able to come and show their support for this initiative right at the start of the campaign. With student support and the past success of our Cyber Bully Census, I am also excited to launch the online survey today. I believe this will be a very powerful tool for kids and lawmakers. ”

Padma Lakshmi, co-Founder of the Endometriosis Foundation of America and award winning author said, "We must educate our children in a broader, more comprehensive manner. If we are to prepare our youth for a bright future we must ensure their physical and emotional well being is addressed before we can raise their academic levels and intellect. This focus on health should include sex education that openly speaks about issues such as endometriosis to both genders at a critical time in a young person's life. The value of such education helps not only these adolescents but whomever their lives should touch."
Assemblyman Marcos Crespo (D-85th District) said, "Senator Jeff Klein's relentless work on chronic illnesses now taking a heavy toll on our residents and stressing our health care delivery system is welcomed leadership that will force positive change in the way health care is delivered in our State.  To combat alarming rates of obesity, asthma, cardiovascular diseases, and substance abuse we must focus our efforts on problems which can no longer be ignored for the sake of our families, as well as to protect the financial stability of our health care system.  I'm proud to join Senator Klein in his effort to reshape healthcare in New York," stated Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, member of the Assembly Standing Committee on Alcohol and Drug Abuse. 

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