Local woman devotes life to getting people healthy

July 22, 2016 11:24 AM

Diane Hart, the president and executive director of the National Association of Health and Fitness, has spent 30 years urging people to get healthy.

It began when she started teaching Jazzercise exercise classes.

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"Physical activity helps your mind, your body and your mood," said Hart. "I have to bring this to way more people. To be able to do it on the local level was great."

But the biggest impact sometimes happens on the policy side. She served as a lobbyist and on national boards trying to get health initiatives put into effect. That includes making buildings, restaurants and other places smoke-free environments. 

"That was the big initiative -- to try to stop smoking in the workplace and other public arenas," Hart said. "We fought that tobacco war for 12 years." 

While exercise is one key to healthy living, Hart says the amount of food people eat also plays a role. Hart fought to get calorie counts on menus at restaurants and fast food chains.

"It's still not as widespread as we'd like to see it, but this gives people a choice," Hart said.

Hart can also be found in the workplace through wellness programs where she covers health topics like sleep and stress.

Hart recently returned from Washington D.C., where she was awarded a lifetime achievement award from the president's council on sports, fitness and nutrition.

"That was a wonderful day, a beautiful day," Hart said.

For more information on Hart, click here.


WNYT Staff

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