WNYC: Doctor’s Advice: Take Two Bike Rides and Call Me in the Morning
by Shumita Basu
If you see a doctor at Interfaith Medical Center in Bedford-Stuyvesant, you might walk out with a helmet and a prescription for a bike membership.
It's part of a pilot program called "Prescribe-a-Bike," which is meant to encourage exercise as part of a daily lifestyle. The program just passed the one-year mark with 70 sign-ups. It came to Bed-Stuy through a collaboration between Better Bike Share Partnership, Citi Bike and New York City's Health Department.
Deputy Health Commissioner Dr. Aletha Maybank says what this pilot program really takes aim at are structural forms of oppression in this city that have led to health inequity.
"You hear it more and more about how your zip code determines your health," said Maybank. "Health alone is not just about the behaviors that people have, but people do things and choose behaviors based on what they have access to in their neighborhoods."
That's why Bed-Stuy was chosen. Dr. Maybank says the Brooklyn neighborhood has a high rate of premature deaths (deaths before age 75), adult diabetes, hypertension and obesity. And one of the biggest barriers to engaging in preventative healthcare measures is access. "Prescribe-a-Bike" takes the cost out of a bike membership and encourages patients to discover the health benefits of daily exercise for themselves.
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