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Walk to your health at several events events in coming weeks

Philip L. Haberstro, executive director of the Wellness Institute of Greater Buffalo, leads a walk Wednesday in downtown Buffalo during National Walk at Lunch Day. (Mark Mulville/Buffalo News)

By Scott Scanlon – Refresh Editor

L. Saxon Graham was a Yale undergraduate, cancer researcher, and former chairman of the department of social and preventive medicine at the University at Buffalo who died nearly two years ago, at age 90.

He was among the pioneers who traced human behavior to health conditions, and to shine a light on the connection between cigarette smoking and cancer.

Buffalo News Health Reporter Henry L. Davis wrote in 1996 that the Buffalo native’s studies at Roswell Park Cancer Institute “exploring the relationships between diet and cancer inspired an entire field of epidemiological inquiry.”

Davis also wrote that some of Graham’s work helped contribute to the confusion that continues to linger over the latest research in a variety of behavioral sciences.

“Science is a work in progress,” Graham said for that story. “Conclusions come from evidence that accumulates over many years, not from the latest finding.”

If Graham were here today, he would certainly cite human inactivity and obesity as two key causes of poor health.

Which is why Philip L. Haberstro, executive director of the Wellness Institute of Greater Buffalo, referenced Graham this week during an interview for this story and today’s What are you Eating? feature in WNY Refresh.

The Wellness Institute and its Be Well program celebrate their 25th anniversaries this year. Haberstro has led them since the start.

It’s also the quarter-century mark for the Healthy Communities movement across the U.S.

Haberstro is big on walking. He wants all of us in the region to do more of it. He will lead the free Be Active Erie County Parks Walks Summer Series, which starts on May 17 and runs through June.

Each walk will include a mini-health fair and health screenings. Registration will start at 9 a.m. and the walks will begin at 9:45 a.m.

Here are the locations:

May 17: Chestnut Ridge casino

May 24: Buffalo State College (this is a special Hula Hoop event which runs from 1 to 5 p.m.)

May 31: Akron Falls Park Cummings Lodge

June 7: Emery Park Field House

June 14: Sprague Brook Park casino

June 21: Como Lake Park – Lancaster Place

June 28: Isleview Park gazebo

Meeting places will be posted at park entrance, Haberstro said.

Also in the coming weeks, starting May 21, the Wellness Institute will support the Buffalo Niagara Medical Center Walking on Wednesday series, 30-minute walks that leave at noon from Kaminski Park, in front of Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and take a different route each week. Walks will continue on Wednesdays through September, and a farmers’ market also will be offered in the park. Haberstro and his staff walk from Buffalo City Hall each week to the start of the walk.

Haberstro also recommends the following websites for those seeking more WNY walking opportunities this summer: The Walking & Fun Activities for Fitness group can be found here

“As little as seven or eight minutes a session can be considered beneficial with your health, with the idea of accumulating 30 minutes a day,” Haberstro said.

“What we love about walking,” he added, “is it’s the most popular physical activity, and it’s the least expensive.”

 For more details on walking events and healthy behavior, visit


Twitter: @BNrefresh

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About The Refresh Buffalo Blog

Scott Scanlon

Scott Scanlon

Scott Scanlon is an award-winning reporter and editor who has covered various topics in his quarter-century as a journalist in South Florida, Syracuse and Buffalo. He is aiming to pass along what he is learning these days about health, fitness, nutrition and family life.

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