Walk at Lunch Day April 29

April 10, 2015

The new health rankings are out fromthe Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s annual County-by-County report card, and the statistics aren’t good: Mobile County (based on the latest 2011 data) inched up again on the obesity scale to 36%, expanding well beyond the national average (25%) and even our own state average (33%). Mobile ranked far worse than all other metropolitan regions of our state.

But evidence-based community partners in Mobile are coming together as never before to tackle our expanding waistlines and are undaunted by the news: Partners, including the City of Mobile, the Downtown Mobile Alliance the Gulf States Health Policy Center, One Fit Mobile, Mobile County, Mobile County Health Department, Mobile Housing Board/Mobile Development Enterprises, Mobile United, Springhill Medical Center and the University of South Alabama, are joining with Live Better Mobile and coming together to host this year’s Blue Cross/Blue Shield National Walk at Lunch Day on Wednesday, April 29, between 11 am-1 pm.

Mobilians will be joining thousands of others walking at lunch in this 9th annual national event in an effort to achieve a healthy weight and bring awareness to obesity and the diseases it causes. In 2014, more than 2,700 walked in events around Alabama alone.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates the cost to treat illness and chronic disease caused by inactive lifestyles is nearly $1,000 for every family in America, every year. Simply getting 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, such as a brisk walk, at least five times a week has significant health benefits, lowering the risk of developing or dying from cardiovascular disease, hypertension or type 2 diabetes, and improving the health of muscles, bones and joints.

On Wednesday, April 29, walkers are encouraged to wear comfortable shoes and to walk for at least 30 minutes between 11 a.m. - 1 p.m., when it is most convenient and encouraged by employers. A number of specific sites will be offered and hosted by partners around Mobile County for group-led walking. A list of those sites, their handicapped accessibility, and contact information can be found at www.livebettermobile.org.

Live Better Mobile is an initiative of community networking organization Mobile United that seeks to achieve greater collective impact in Mobile County in our community-wide efforts to 1) achieve a healthy weight, 2) prevent teen pregnancy, and 3) quit tobacco. Using the evidence compiled annually in the County Health Rankings by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, Mobile United’s Health Services Task Force and facilitators from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified obesity, teen pregnancy and smoking as Mobile County’s greatest chronic health threats. Reducing the rate of those three health behaviors can vastly reduce the majority of chronic illnesses from which Mobile County residents now suffer and which result in premature death, as well as untold costs in individual and community expense, lost productivity and poor quality of life. In addition to hosting Walk at Lunch Day in Mobile, Live Better Mobile and partners will also be hosting the second annual Diabesity Conference at the University of South Alabama, Student Recreation Center on Friday, Oct. 9.