Louisville in Kentucky Battles Widespread Obesity
Louisville in Kentucky is one of the obesity capitals of the United States. About 60% of the populace in this city are seriously overweight. Kentucky itself is the seventh most obese state in the US. Louisville city health officials are in the midst of an all-out battle against obesity.
Setbacks in the Obesity Battle
Though health officials urge the populace to take part in physical activities like biking and walking, there has been a fall in the number of people who report doing any kind of exercise. Other developments too are worrying health experts. Yum Brands, the parent concern of KFC, is trying to get the state government to allow people to use food stamps at its restaurants including Taco Bell and Pizza Hut. Health experts say using food stamps to buy fast food would make it easier to opt for unhealthy options.
In this troubled economy, federal dollars have become more scarce, pinching the amounts allocated to fight obesity. Also, experts say it will be a tough and long fight against obesity. This is because the social and physical environments that led to the obesity epidemic developed gradually over decades. So, there can be no quick fixes in this battle.
Efforts of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
This foundation started its anti-obesity combat in Louisville in 2003. It persuaded the government to establish bicycle lanes, small parks, better traffic regulations, and safer and wider sidewalks. So far, Louisville has received around $400,000 from this foundation to battle obesity.
The fight against obesity is creating more awareness among the populace. Some stores have started selling fresh fruits as snacks. Walking has been made easier by changing traffic patterns. More people are opting for eggs instead of bacon for breakfast at community centers. Some health experts say such anti-obesity moves have become a mass movement.
City officials say business prospects could be affected if the city projects a negative image of obesity. Corporates are attracted by a healthy workforce, which is necessary for competitiveness and better productivity. Such concerns have boosted the city government’s anti-obesity efforts. Now, sidewalks have been re-aligned to encourage the walking habit. Biking also has got a big boost.
The YMCA is encouraging store owners to sell more vegetables and fruits. Now, residents can use food stamps to buy fresh produce. Community gardens and health centers have been established with help from donors. The community gardens grow lettuce, green beans, beets and other green vegetables for local consumption. We hope all these efforts pay off enabling Louisville residents to lead a healthier and happier life.