Statewide program is aimed at curbing epidemic of obesity

The Fairview City Council unanimously passed a resolution to join the Healthy Eating Active Living Cities Campaign, aimed at curbing the epidemic of obesity-related chronic diseases.

Fairview is the third Oregon city to join the no charge campaign, after Wilsonville and Tualatin. HEAL Cities Campaign is a program that helps city leaders create healthy, livable communities with minimal budget impact.

Obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death and disability in Oregon.

These diseases, including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and hypertension, cost Oregon about $1.6 billion every year according to the Oregon Health Authority.

The increased risk to young people is particularly striking, a Fairview press release stated.

Twenty-five years ago, a child with Type 2 diabetes or stroke was an oddity, the city reports.

Today, 1-in-4 young people is at-risk of weight-related illness. By 2020, that number is projected to rise to 1-in-3. For the first time in modern history, today’s youths may not live as long as their parents.

Sponsored by Kaiser Permanente, the goal of the campaign is to improve the livability and community health of Fairview.

“As a nurse and mother of three, I know how challenging it can be to keep kids physically active and eating healthy,” said Fairview Council member Tamie Arnold.

“By joining the HEAL Campaign, Fairview is committing to a vision of a healthy community,” she said.

The council will consider policies that could expand access throughout the city to healthy amenities like sidewalks, bike paths, and community gardens, Arnold said.

The campaign is a program of the League of Oregon Cities and the Oregon Public Health Institute.

Beth Kaye, a project manager at Oregon Public Health and leader of the HEAL Cities Campaign in Oregon, said there are many ways that cities can support families to make healthy choices. One way, she said, is to connect neighborhoods and shopping areas and schools with sidewalks and bike paths, so that people have a choice about whether to drive.

“Some cities build parks, others work closely with the school district on school garden programs,” said Kaye.

Over the coming months, Fairview city staff will explore the HEAL policy options, gather public input and bring recommendations to Council, according to a city press release.

If Fairview adopts policies to improve bicycle and pedestrian connectivity, the city said it could improve Fairview’s odds of receiving certain state and local funds designed to promote use of alternative forms of transportation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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