Report looks at ways Kentucky communities are battling obesity

Winchester residents walk the Traveling Trail, a walking
path meant to encourage residents to exercise.

A new report takes a hard look at obesity in Kentucky and highlights what individual communities are doing to combat the problem.

“Shaping Kentucky’s Future: A Community Guide to Reducing Obesity” could be useful to readers, officials and advocates interested in effecting change, with some efforts relatively easy — and cheap — to implement.

Statewide, 33 percent of children, 60 percent of women and 80 percent of men are overweight or obese, ranking Kentucky’s third highest in the country for children and sixth highest for adults. Health care costs attributable to obesity in Kentucky are estimated to be $2.3 billion in 2013.

The report highlights community efforts in:
• Berea, for its effort to make the city more accessible to pedestrians.
• Winchester, for mowing a walking trail on land owned by the community hospital.
• Louisville, for supporting breast-feeding mothers; selling healthy food at urban markets
• Madisonville, for Hopkins County’s wellness program for its 150 county employees.
• Lexington, for serving the Better Bites menu at several pools and city facilities, rather than unhealthy meals and snacks.
• Hopkinsville, for its farmers’ market being one of the first to accept SNAP nutrition assistance benefits.
• Tyner, for building a commercial kitchen so residents can process local food and package it for sale.
• Buckhorn, Lexington and Shelbyville, for opening up schools for exercise venues.

The report, which was funded by the Kentucky Department for Public Health, the Shaping Kentucky’s Future Collaborative and the Tides Foundation, also looks at success stories in schools, from an effort at Science Hill in Pulaski County to the Healthy Monday program in Covington, which includes walking the Monday Mile and eating the Monday Meatless Meal. (Read more)

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