FitWorth, UNTHSC strengthen partnership to make Fort Worth healthier

By Alex Branch

UNT Health Science Center and FitWorth have collaborated to help people in Fort Worth live healthier lives since 2012.

Now the two organizations have strengthened their partnership to make an even bigger impact on the health of the community.

FitWorth, which was previously governed by a nonprofit entity, is now an official program of the Health Science Center. UNTHSC has provided administrative support for the wellness program since 2014.

UNTHSC’s full support provides FitWorth more resources and opportunities to collaborate with the university’s six schools, particularly the School of Public Health, said Noah Drew, FitWorth Director.

“FitWorth is excited to engage with School of Public Health students, staff and faculty and incorporate their knowledge and expertise into our programs for the benefit of the community,” Drew said. “That could mean health coaching and chronic disease management, which can greatly enhance FitWorth’s obesity prevention programs.”

FitWorth has had tremendous success engaging with families to create opportunities to increase physical activity and improve nutrition since Mayor Betsy Price launched the initiative in 2012. About 30,000 children participated in the 2018 Mayor’s Challenge in which they ate five fruits and vegetables each day and tracked their physical activity.

FitWorth offers nutrition demonstrations throughout the year and thousands of cyclists participate in Tour de Fort Worth, a series of organized rides that include walkable and kid-friendly routes.

“We created Fit Worth because we wanted our community to get healthier —  and the community has really taken ownership of it,” Mayor Price said. “We needed an opportunity for a full-time, permanent home for FitWorth. UNT Health Science Center offers the chance for FitWorth to take the next leap forward.”

A variety of complex factors determine the overall health of individuals, families and community, said Nicoleta Bugnariu, PhD, UNTHSC Vice Provost for Community Engagement and Service. Dynamic partnerships like those that created FitWorth are necessary to overcome barriers and solve problems.

“Health Science Center faculty and staff will provide expertise, data-driven assessments for continuous improvement and maintain an ongoing dialog about what is truly important to members of the community we serve,” Dr. Bugnariu said. “We are proud to collaborate with our community partners and house this valuable program on our campus.”

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