Area cities pledge to get healthy with challenge
Friday, September 7, 2012 |
Lakeway, Bee Cave and The Hills united in a common pledge recently to rally their citizens to healthier lifestyles by signing on for The Healthy at H-E-B Community Challenge.
The challenge, which is part of the It’s Time Texas initiative, runs through October as cities and towns across Texas vie for the bragging rights as well as a trophy for “Healthiest Small Town in Texas” to display in City Hall, a sign for public display and public relations support for the city.
By signing the pledge, city leaders made the commitment to involve and encourage their communities in healthy activities for points.
Community walks or runs, community gardens, beautification projects, nutrition education and cooking classes and health education events among other events all earn points for cities.
“I fully support this activity, and I’m really hoping our citizens and various business groups take up the challenge,” said Lakeway mayor Dave DeOme, who sponsors the Mayor’s Fitness Council. “Whatever vehicle we use, it’s important to have a healthy lifestyle.”
Cities are grouped in small, mid and large categories according to their population and schools, businesses and individuals are also invited to participate to boost cities’ point totals.
As governmental agencies prepare budgets for the next year, the economy of poor health norms can come into play, said Baker Harrell, founder and CEO of ActiveLifeHQ, which is spearheading the initiative also sponsored by H-E-B, Blue Cross Blue Shield, The Cooper Institute and The Wellness Difference of Lakeway.
“By 2030, nearly 90 percent of the U.S. adult population will be overweight or obese which equals a trillion-dollar cost to the taxpayers of this country every year” in lost productivity and associated costs of poor health, Harrell said.
“This equals the bankrupting of our country,” he told Rotary Club of Lakeway/Lake Travis members during their Aug. 30 meeting where city officials signed their pledges.
Individuals can earn points for their cities by completing an It’s Time Texas statement online, recording a healthy activity as a part of H-E-B’s Ready Set Move contest and submitting a motivated video online.
Harrell warned of a bleak inheritance for future generations with nearly 40 percent of U.S. children born in 2000 projected to develop Type 2 diabetes.
“It is a prison sentence,” he said. “This is the first generation of children in 100 years that will have a lower life expectancy than the previous generation.”
His goal in establishing the It’s Time Texas initiative is to create a social movement to effect a cultural change, much like the Civil Rights Movement did.
“It’s not enough for us to just talk about obesity; we have to look at all the factors which have created a society in which unhealthy is now the norm,” he observed. “We as a society have to transform if we are going to be successful in addressing this.”
The wellspring of action can pour forth from those who are most likely to take the lead.
“We have to inspire the motivated – the people who care about this issue – to empower their friends, their family, anyone they care about to create the kind of change that is necessary to address this social crisis,” he said.
To learn more about the It’s Time Texas initiative and to sign up, visit itstimetexas.org.
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