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Battling Obesity City Wide

Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services wants input on its plan for a healthy county at a Town Hall Meeting on October 19th.

In Austin and Travis County, 1 in 5 adults is overweight. And the HHS department is trying to lower that statistic. Using funds from a state grant, the department is working up a 3-year plan with input from doctors, non-profits, schools and parents.

It's fair to say that not every part of Austin or Travis County has the same access to healthy food, safe parks or even sidewalks. Karen Hansen, with the Obesity Prevention Program, said, "What our plan is focusing on is to create more equity so that it doesn't matter where you live; so that you have access to fresh, healthy  foods, access to sidewalks and parks and hike and bike trails; so you can get physically active and to be active with your family."

Strategies include finding opportunities to make healthy foods more available in under-served areas of the community. "Part of that certainly is placement of grocery stores or any food retailers that sell healthy foods. Those are things that certainly we would like to inform city leadership about so then leadership of the city can move forward and make those things happen," Hansen said.

There's also an effort to engage all of the school districts in Travis County to work to providing children better education on healthy eating, healthier menu options and more exercise.

The Town Hall meeting is Tuesday, October 19th from 6:30pm-8:30pm at One Texas Center at 505 Barton Springs Road in Room 325.

Emily Donahue is a former grants writer for KUT. She previously served as news director and helped launch KUT’s news department in 2001.