FitWorth Program Named TMA Foundation’s Champion of Health
FORT WORTH, TEXAS - The Texas Medical Association Foundation (TMAF) presented its 2015 John P. McGovern Champion of Health Award to FitWorth, a program launched by Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price in 2012 to combat the critical issue of childhood obesity in Fort Worth. The TMAF award recognizes exceptional projects that address urgent public health threats and further TMAF’s mission to help physicians create a healthier future for all Texans.
When Mayor Price learned that more than half of the children in the Fort Worth Independent School District (ISD) were overweight or obese, she developed FitWorth to halt the upward trend of obesity. During the past two years, FitWorth has worked to create a culture that values health and provides opportunities to improve health, such as community-wide challenges for tracking physical activity and nutrition; an annual healthy Culinary Competition; and programs to support low-income children and schools who participate in community-based physical activities.
FitWorth also partners to promote and engage the community in the mayor’s rolling town halls, Tour de Fort Worth, and Mayor’s Triathlon. Some local organizations that have collaborated with FitWorth include The University of North Texas Health Science Center, Cook Children’s Health Care System, Oncor, the American Heart Association, Albertson’s, and the Tarrant County Restaurant Association and Texas Chef’s Association.
FitWorth’s primary audience is school-age children in Fort Worth, especially in low-access and low-income areas. About 180,000 children live in Fort Worth, or about 30 percent of the city’s population (based on 2009 census data). Since FitWorth began, the obesity rate among Fort Worth ISD students has dropped from a little more than 50 percent to 46 percent, representing 3,300 children who have improved their health.
TMAF Champion of Health Award top honorees receive $5,000 and a specially-commissioned bronze statue. The award is named after John P. McGovern, MD, a philanthropist, scholar and noted allergist who founded the John P. McGovern Foundation in Houston. Dr. McGovern established a permanent endowment at TMAF, which supports this award.
ABOUT TEXAS MEDICAL ASSOCIATION - TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing more than 48,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 110 component county medical societies around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans. TMA Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the association and raises funds to support the health improvement and science priority initiatives of TMA and the family of medicine.
ABOUT FITWORTH - FitWorth is a movement intended to inspire a community wide cultural shift toward increased physical activity and nutritional choices in Fort Worth. By providing tools for role model empowerment and behavioral awareness, FitWorth aims to act as a hub of coordinated and collaborative community resources, to generate momentum for a healthier future for Fort Worth.
About FitWorth Healthy City Initiative: FitWorth is a family-focused initiative of Mayor Betsy Price and the Fort Worth City Council launched in September 2012 to address the growing trend of childhood obesity in the city. In 2014, FitWorth became an independent program of Foundation for Wellness, Texas, tasked with promoting health and active lifestyles through an individualized and sustainable approach to community wellness.