Mayor Price Announces Health Promotion Effort Aimed to Improve Childhood Obesity Rates

Fort Worth, TX, Sept. 15, 2012 — Mayor Betsy Price today announced a city-wide, grassroots initiative to address childhood obesity and encourage the health of Fort Worth families. Called FitWorth, the movement intends to unite community partners, promote existing resources, and create opportunities for families in our community to increase their physical activity and improve nutrition.

Recent statistics show more than 50% of Fort Worth ISD children are overweight. Childhood obesity is contributing to an increasing number of children developing Type 2 diabetes and other long-term physical effects.

“Our children are this community’s future, and we are concerned about this troubling trend,” Price said. “We are raising a generation of children with a lower life expectancy than their parents. FitWorth will encourage healthy choices and participation in the many wonderful activities our city has to offer. We want our families to understand the importance of increased physical activity and good nutrition, and our goal is to help.”

FitWorth’s early activities include raising overall visibility for existing healthy activities for families across the city, as well as specific projects in the Fort Worth ISD under the name “FitWorthKids.” The first of these school-based projects is an eight-week team competition for 3rd to 8th graders to track their time in physical activity and healthy eating patterns. The teams competing in this challenge will win new PE equipment for their schools. Another effort, to be announced Sept. 19, will address healthier cafeteria menus within existing cafeteria budgets.

Price said the effort needs to be addressed both in the schools and at home to be most effective. “Fort Worth is known for its ability to rally together when faced with a challenge, and the ability to make an impact through collaboration,” she said. “Parents and PE teachers can make a difference with the help of our city’s employers, schools, hospitals, faith communities, non-profits and retailers.”

Price is spearheading the movement, with participation of an advisory committee that includes representatives from Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, Cook Children’s Healthcare Network, Cowtown Marathon, Fort Worth City Council, Fort Worth Independent School District, Texas Health Resources, Oncor and UNT Health Science Center. Initial funding has been provided by Oncor.

Mayor Price launched the effort at the annual Trinity Trot/C.A.L.F. run held Saturday, Sept. 15 at LaGrave Field. More than 1,500 runners registered for the 5K/1 mile run/walk, the warm-up for the February 23, 2013 Cowtown Kids 5K, part of the annual Cowtown Marathon weekend.

The announcement came at the culmination of Texas Obesity Awareness Week, established by the Texas Legislature in 2007 to raise awareness of the health risks associated with obesity and to encourage Texans to adopt healthy lifestyles.

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.

Release date: 
September 15th, 2012