February 2, 2011
Bicycles and Balboa Park go together in San Diego. The two elements served as perfect partners for students from Roosevelt Middle School to join County Supervisors Pam Slater-Price and Ron Roberts in a bicycle safety activity Wednesday, when the County of San Diego officially unveiled the comprehensive obesity-prevention initiative Healthy Works.
Healthy Works engages San Diego County residents, businesses and community leaders in systems and environmental approaches such as farmers’ markets, community gardens, bike-to-school and work programs, school exercise and nutrition programs, and changes involving land use and transportation. Healthy Works creates “Paths to Healthy Living.”
“Healthy Works continues the County’s aggressive efforts in obesity prevention,” said Supervisor Slater-Price, who chairs the Healthy Works Leadership Team. “We are determined to make the necessary changes allowing County residents better access to healthy choices, including healthy activities.”
Now that all the Healthy Works partners are in place and preliminary accomplishments realized, the real momentum of this work can begin to take off. Healthy Works is a component of the County of San Diego’s “Live Well, San Diego!, Building Better Health” initiative, a 10-year strategic vision for improving health and wellness and combating the toll of chronic diseases, including obesity, which is viewed as a nationwide public health emergency.
“We are excited about the systems and environmental changes that people are already beginning to see in their communities,” said Ron Roberts, who currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the Board of Supervisors and, together with Slater-Price, has been a champion of obesity awareness in this county. “Healthy Works is a turning-point initiative in San Diego County and will lay the groundwork for wellness efforts in the years ahead.”
This is an ambitious, $16 million initiative to create programs that encourage wellness. “In order to affect change, we must try to assure that all levels in our community support healthy choices. Government, businesses, neighborhoods, families and individuals all play key roles in this effort,” said Nick Macchione, Director of the County’s Health and Human Services Agency.
Healthy Works is the San Diego County initiative of Communities Putting Prevention to Work, a federally funded grant program administered by the County of San Diego, and includes the University of California San Diego, San Diego Association of Governments, San Diego County Office of Education, Community Health Improvement Partners and San Diego State University, along with numerous community-based partners. The initiative is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, as is part of a nationwide initiative involving more than 50 communities implementing environmental and systems approaches related to obesity and tobacco prevention. The County of San Diego received the largest grant in the nation for obesity prevention.
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