Louisville, KY Confronts Obesity From All Angles

A grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has Louisville thinking differently. "...it's not just about smart growth, it’s not just about transportation, it's not just about parks or better nutrition, it’s about all of those things and more."

The quote above is from Mary Lou Northern, senior adviser to Louisville mayor Greg Fischer, in the New York Times.

A majority of Louisville residents are overweight, and the rate physical activity outside of work has fallen in recent times, even in the face of campaigns to encourage walking and biking. This is in a state where Kentucky Fried Chicken got its start, and fast food companies are lobbying to allow the use of food stamps in restaurants.

Against this, the city, working with nonprofit groups such as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The YMCA of Greater Louisville have been working to overcome the long term changes to the environment, both built and social that led in part to the obesity epidemic. Most city agencies, from the mayor's office to the sewer department have been involved. These efforts have included improving and widening sidewalks, establishing bicycle lanes and creating more pocket parks and community gardens. The transit authority has added bike racks to its buses. And some corner stores are adding fresh fruits and vegetables through the efforts of the YMCA.

Thanks to Ken Firestone

Full Story: A City Tries to Slim Down

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