San Antonians Team Up to Slim Down
A 2009 survey by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that 65.8 percent of the San Antonio area’s adults are overweight or obese. Their rates of diabetes and end-stage kidney disease — two common consequences of long-term obesity — are about twice the national average.
65.8 percent of the San Antonio area’s adults are overweight or obese.
San Antonio’s civic leaders and medical community are looking for the best ways to change this deeply ingrained “culture of obesity” — to get city residents to eat better and exercise more, improving their quality of life and lowering health-related costs.
The heart of this effort is the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District’s obesity initiative, created in early 2010 through a federal stimulus grant, which has assembled a wide-ranging coalition of government agencies, school districts, colleges and universities and private businesses. While the initiative is just getting under way, and there is not yet any hard data on results, the coalition will:
- work with national and local restaurant chains and restaurant associations to include healthy options;
- create public school salad bars and make more fresh fruits and vegetables available;
- assist in the establishment of farmers’ markets;
- outfit public libraries with fitness assessment stations and outdoor exercise equipment; and
- work to ensure that new and improved roads are pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly.