In Program 3 of The CommonHealth of Kentucky, we spotlighted projects that work to prevent or reduce obesity through better nutrition. This time around, the focus is on the other key to managing your weight: an active lifestyle. Around the state, schools and even entire communities are promoting healthy activity and providing safe places to exercise:
The Owensboro Public Schools have created Fit for Life cardiovascular fitness centers for students in grades 5-12, instituted swimming lessons in grade 3, and created a variety of other possibilities for healthy exercise that are also just plain fun. Through these programs, kids can take dance lessons, go skating, use walking tracks, or literally climb the walls.
The LaRue County Coordinated School Health Initiative provides health education presentations emphasizing fitness and nutrition as well as exercise facilities. Adults throughout the community are encouraged to set a good example for students (and bolster their own well-being) through a staff fitness program, community health fairs, and health homework for parents.
In Erlanger, the Step Forward project is both encouraging people to get out and walk more and ensuring that they have safe places to do it. Initiatives include a walking club that pairs up people by location and pace, walking school buses escorted by specially trained adults, a master plan for adding and improving sidewalks throughout the city, and a new approach to development that emphasizes mixed-use neighborhoods with green space and walking paths.
Nationwide, the Rails to Trails movement seeks to recycle unused railway right-of-ways into walking and biking paths. We visit a project in Muhlenberg County to see how an unused ribbon of land became a safe area where individuals and families can go to walk or ride.