San Diego County officials and various community partners launched the Healthy Works initiative to combat childhood obesity today in Balboa Park.
The Healthy Works program will be funded by a $16 million two-year grant to reduce chronic disease by promoting physical activity, nutrition, and a healthy school environment.
“The need for this program is great. Obesity has become a national threat. It’s an epidemic. Right here in San Diego County, more than half of all adults and sadly, one in three middle school students, are overweight or obese,” said San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency Director Nick Macchione. “In order to affect change, we must try to ensure that all levels in our community support healthy choices. Government, businesses, neighborhoods, families and individuals all play a role in this effort.”
The initiative involves business and community partners who are taking various approaches to meet this goal, said County Supervisor Pam Slater-Price, the chair of the Healthy Works Leadership Team.
“We are excited about the systems and environmental changes that people are already beginning to see in their communities,” said County Supervisor Ron Roberts.
Some of the projects include planting community gardens, starting safe bike-to- school and work programs, introducing locally grown fruit and vegetables and better nutritional choices in schools, and offering more physical education at schools.
Community partners include: UCSD, the San Diego County Office of Education, the San Diego Association of Governments, Community Health Improvement Partners, and San Diego State University.
On Wednesday, Roosevelt Middle School students participated in a bicycle safety demonstration, which is part of a project to create safe routes to school and encourage physical activity.
San Diego County received the largest grant award in the nation from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The program is a component of the County’s “Live Well, San Diego! Building Better Health” initiative.