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HEALTHY HUNTSVILLE KICKS OFF 2014 CAMPAIGN


January 17, 2014
Healthy Huntsville (Huntsville, AL) - The city-wide Healthy Huntsville initiative kicked off its 2014 program today at the Sandwich Farm, a farm-to-table restaurant with an emphasis on fresh, organic foods.

"You can dine out and still eat healthy," said Mayor Tommy Battle. "We want to show our residents they can still make smart choices on a menu, and we encourage all of our restaurants to offer healthy options."

Now in its third year, the Healthy Huntsville team remains focused on its mission -- to reduce obesity by promoting healthy eating and active lifestyles among Huntsville residents.

It is an urgent and critical quest. Alabama ranks fifth in the country with 33 percent of its citizens considered obese. When you consider the number of residents overweight and obese in Alabama, the number jumps to nearly 68 percent. Among baby boomers, Alabama is the second most obese state and in the top six for young adults. Alabama is also third highest in the country in diabetes, 8th in physical inactivity, and number one in hypertension.

These alarming statistics have the Huntsville leadership team taking action. The City of Huntsville, HudsonAlpha, Huntsville City Schools, Huntsville Hospital, and the Madison County Health Department are working to promote year-round health and fitness related activities to reduce the incidence of obesity and its health and economic impacts in Huntsville. This includes informational sessions on nutrition and food choices, healthy cooking demonstrations, health fairs and screenings, exercise and fitness opportunities, hikes, runs, bike rides, and a host of creative outdoor activities designed to get people on the move.

"Increasing both physical activity and consumption of fruits and vegetables is almost universally accepted as the best way to prolong life and prevent the development of most major chronic diseases," said Dr. Lawrence Robey, Madison County Health Officer. "Unfortunately no shortcut has been found; there is no easy pill to swallow."

Awareness is the first step. To encourage residents to take the next step, all of the Healthy Huntsville events and programs are free of charge. Activities will be posted online at www.ourvalleyevents.com/healthy-huntsville and on the Healthy Huntsville Facebook page. Community organizations wishing to sponsor a Healthy Huntsville event are encouraged to visit the Healthy Huntsville website at www.huntsvilleal.gov/healthyhuntsville and submit their ideas.

The first opportunity comes this week with Scale Back Alabama (www.scalebackalabama.com), the state's 10-week weight loss and activity program.

"I've got my Scaleback team ready and will be having my first weigh-in on Saturday," said Mayor Battle. "Good thing Sandwich Farm has delicious salads!"



For more information, contact:

Kelly Cooper Schrimsher
Office of the Mayor
256-427-5006
kelly.schrimsher@huntsvilleal.gov

Rena Anderson
Director of Community Engagement
Huntsville City Schools
256-428-6943
Rena.anderson@hsv-k12.org

Dr. Lawrence Robey
Madison County Health Officer
Madison County Department of Health
lawrence.robey@adph.state.al.us

Beth Pugh
Director of Communications
HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology
256.327.0425
bpugh@hudsonalpha.com

Cheryl Davis
Director, Marketing & Physician Relations
Huntsville Hospital
Phone 256.265.8317
cheryl.davis@hhsys.org


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