Lawmakers proposed today a teen health education fund through voluntary taxpayer donations to be put in the state budget to increase education and research about adolescent health issues, Gannett’s Haley Viccaro reports.
The campaign by the Independent Democratic Conference focuses on endometriosis, which is a disease where the lining of a woman’s uterus doesn’t slough off once a month during menstruation but gets reabsorbed and travels throughout the body.
Bravo TV’s Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi, who is also the co-founder of the Endometriosis Foundation of America, was at the Capitol to help launch the campaign.
“A woman should be allowed to save her life and a young girl should be able to prepare for her future without the shackle of chronic pain, especially when we have treatment,” Lakshmi said.
She said she wasn’t diagnosed with endometriosis until the age of 36. She said the disease affects one in 10 women, most who don’t get diagnosed or are misdiagnosed for at least a decade.
To kick-off the Teen Health Awareness Campaign Sen. Jeff Klein, leader of the five-member group of breakaway Democrats, announced an initiative to include a check off on individuals’ tax returns to donate money for health education.
“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,” Klein said in a statement. “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.”
Klein said young adults should have more education about obesity and substance abuse so they can know the potential health effects and preventative measures. He said the tax check off could generate more than $1 million a year, such as with breast cancer research.
The campaign also includes a push for more education and awareness about adolescent obesity and the health impacts of alcohol and substance abuse. Senators were joined by seventh graders from a middle school in the Riverdale section of the Bronx.
The Independent Democratic Conference launched an online survey at www.TeenHealthNY.com to allow young adults in the state to answer questions about their knowledge of these health issues.
A reporter asked Lakshmi during the press conference if she watches Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s girlfriend and Food Network star Sandra Lee’s cooking show. She said she does not.
“No, she is not on our network. I honestly can’t comment because I don’t watch her show, but that is not a knock against her because I don’t even watch my own show,” Lakshmi said. “I can’t comment on another person’s show.”