Busy schedules make it hard to stay healthy. We have to talk to our friends on the move, do work on the move and eat on the move. Our food has to be convenient and fast. We don’t usually stop to think about the nutritional value of our daily meals when we have to worry about our workload, budget and daily schedules. While many people have a more active lifestyle in which they integrate exercise into their daily lives through walking and climbing stairs, adequate nutrition can mean the difference of a healthy heart and clogged arteries.
In January, Mayor Thomas M. Menino announced that he wanted to help Bostonians collectively shed one million pounds in the coming year. While this seems like a huge feat, the million-pound goal is possible. If each person loses just two or three pounds the city will hit it’s target. Boston may pride itself on being a health conscious city, but about half of the adults living in Boston, or 250,000 people, are overweight or obese. That does not even cover the problem of the 20,000 plus school-aged children who are above their recommended weight.
Boston Public Health Commission will launch a campaign in Spring. Their first initiative will invite residents to log into a website where they will offer the opportunity to record their starting weight, progress and end goals. What’s better is that this website will be a database of places people can exercise searchable by neighborhood. The website will also provide fun and free activities from bike rides to exercise classes and more!
This is part of a greater initiative, put forth my Major Menino to promote healthy lifestyles, that over the years has worked to improve food and exercise initiatives like improving breakfasts and lunches, installing community gardens, backyard gardens and building neighborhood playgrounds. More recently the health commission and other departments have been working to recruit licensed daycare operators to attend a training session on preparing healthy snacks and incorporating physical activity into the day. Furthermore, the commission aims at working with a nutritionist to develop healthy kids menus in small neighborhood restaurants and creating an educational kit to provide to employers which aims to promote exercise and healthy food choices among employees.
These initiatives are nothing without the support and participation of the community. Mayor Menino’s attempt to engage Bostonians in getting healthy is a way to bring us together as a community. We can run together, bike together, play sports together, and feel healthy together. Above all, we can struggle and succeed together. With a supportive community, weight loss is made easier. And rather than make us feel ashamed for those extra pounds we should really shed, he makes it a collective problem and provides a community solution. Together we can lose weight, feel healthy and be more active!
-Margo, Future Boston Intern