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AAPI invokes Gandhi for health and physical fitness

October 09
21:24 2011

Dr Sunita Kanumury addressing the crowd while Ambassador Manjeev Puri, Dr. Bharucha, Dr. Kumaresan and Rahul Sur (standing) look on

NEW YORK: The latest public outreach program of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) – walkathon for health – that was launched in multiple locations as part of Indian Independence Day on Aug 15 culminated in New York with AAPI President Dr. Sunita Kanumury participating in second Mahatma Gandhi Health and Peace Walk in Harlem, New York on Oct 2.
During this period, AAPI worked with several community and religious organizations, local AAPI chapters and temples throughout the US to promote healthy lifestyle among people by staging walkathons. In this direction, AAPI had reached out to a large section of people in creating a positive vibe on walking to keep lifestyle diseases at bay.
On Oct 2, over 250 participants came from New York, New Jersey, neighboring states to participate in the Mahatma Gandhi health and peace walk at Marcus Garvey Park, Manhattan. The first walk was held in the same venue last year and scores of local population of Harlem were seen walking briskly sporting Gandhi t-shirt donated by the organizers.
The Walk is based on the original concept created by Rahul Sur to draw inspiration from the life and example of Mahatma Gandhi –who was an excellent walker–and encourage people to walk daily with the aim of enhancing their wellness, fighting diabetes and heart disease. Consequently, the Walk’s slogan is “In His Footsteps – For Your Health.”
Other notable persons who attended were Ambassador Manjeev Singh Puri, deputy permanent representative of India to the United Nations; Dr Jacob Kumaresan, executive director of World Health Organization (WHO), New York; Dr. Jamshed Bharucha, president of the Cooper Union, and Syderia Chresfield, President of the Mount Morris Park Community Improvement Association (MMPCIA) and Rita Batheja, founder, Indian American Dietetic Association (IADA).
Ambassador Puri said recently the UN had a major international conference on how to control the outbreak of non-communicable diseases such as heart attack, diabetes and stroke and its time that people took time off their busy schedule to take care of their health. Mahatma lessons and teaching encompass a wide range of subjects and that include health and fitness.
Dr. Kanumury said AAPI’s 150 chapters in the US had launched a drive focusing on fitness and so far conducted 14 major walks throughout the country in the past two months. AAPI is now focusing on prevention by promoting healthy lifestyle, diet, nutrition and physical fitness besides yoga and meditation.
Dr. Kumaresan said WHO has been working in several countries to prevent major ailments. In the next five years, there are plans to prevent one million people from dying of heart disease with the help of education and awareness. It’s imperative to educate children on obesity and choice of healthy foods. Whatever may be the work load, walking half an hour a day will do a lot of good nothing is more important than our own health and wellbeing.
Dr. Bharucha said exercise is not only important for physical health but to improve mental health as well. There are vast numbers of people who suffer from mental health due to increasing demands. There is a general decline of mental well being no thanks to sedate lifestyle.
Chresfield said she was happy that the organizers choose Harlem for Mahatma Gandhi health and peace walk. Obesity, diabetes and heart disease prove to be a silent killer and people should be educated from young age how to lead a healthy life.
Rahul Sur, the creator of the Mahatma Gandhi Health and Peace Walk addressed the participants on the subject of Gandhi, health and peace. The best way to operationalize Gandhi was to walk long distances in peace every day. This would enable people to benefit from his giant life and help address today’s problems in a concrete way, he said.
After the Walk, the participants assembled for a meditation session that was led by the Art of Living Foundation.
Also, Shanti Fund of Long Island commemorated Gandhi’s Salt March symbolically with a “Peace Walk” around the H L Dennison Building Hauppauge, Long Island, and this year AAPI was represented by its senior leaders and members from Long Island chapter in the “Health Walk” program as part of its national wide walkathon movement.
India Post News Service

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