FitWorth takes health and wellness message to San Antonio

FitWorth is well on its way to inspiring people beyond Tarrant County to live healthier through exercise and better nutritional choices, starting with San Antonio.

This week the San Antonio Mayor’s Fitness Council was introduced to some of the ways that Fort Worth is raising awareness of the importance of making healthy choices, said Leslie Casey, Chair for the Foundation for Wellness, Texas, the non-profit that houses FitWorth, Healthy City Initiative.

"We have engaged our community at the grassroots level to increase physical fitness and fruit and vegetable consumption," she said, "Now we’re sharing Fort Worth’s best practices for healthy living with others across the state."

The council turned to FitWorth for suggestions on how its community could strengthen its commitment to health and obesity prevention.

FitWorth has engaged the community through numerous programs in an effort to encourage healthy activities, Casey said, including a culinary arts competition in which high school students competed to make healthy and tasty recipes. Another successful program was the Grocery Store Scavenger Hunt, which encouraged kids to remake family favorites such as lasagna in healthier ways. And the Restaurant Crawl featured walkable routes in the city where healthy appetizers, entrees and desserts were offered.

The San Antonio program also involved innovations happening at UNTHSC around culinary and lifestyle medicine, Casey said. The next step is to work with Professional and Continuing Education (PACE) to develop Continue Medical Education (CME) offerings.

In the future, FitWorth plans to introduce other programs to the community, including mobile fresh markets at school, parent tool kits and early childhood programming.

The idea is to find new and innovative ways to raise awareness in Fort Worth, as well as expand that message to communities throughout the state, Casey said. A presentation to cities in Northeast Tarrant County is next on the agenda.

"As an academic institution UNT Health Science Center is playing an important role in supporting FitWorth and bringing the message of how to live healthier to this and future generations," Casey said.

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