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A New Bridge Will Provide Children from Houston’s Fifth Ward with a Safer Route to School



According to a press release from the City of Houston, a new bridge will provide children and residents living in Houston's Fifth Ward with a safer transportation route. The bridge will prevent children from having to walk over dangerous railroad tracks, where trains make frequent stops and block the crossing area. A public meeting was scheduled for April 2, 2013, to allow the general public to provide input on the proposed project, which will require the city of Houston to acquire two parcels of land. The bridge, which is expected to cost $1.3 million to construct, will be developed through a partnership that involves the City of Houston, the Gulf Coast Rail District, and TxDOT. According to this news article from the Houston Chronicle, construction on the bridge is scheduled to begin ...

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A Permanent Farmers’ Market in Austin?



The City of Austin, TX is thinking about helping to create a permanent farmers' market that would operate seven days a week. It was the first recommendation in a recent report produced for the city by Texas Perspectives, a local economic analysis and consulting firm. Having a year-round farmers' market open every day would make farm fresh fruits and vegetables more accessible to Austin residents and visitors alike. Listen to the radio story or read more about ...

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APHA Supports The National Physical Activity Plan



In October of 2012, at the 140th Annual American Public Health Association (APHA) Meeting, The Governing Council created a resolution to support the National Physical Activity Plan (NPAP), as a strategic plan to improve physical activity rates in the United States. The NPAP includes over 250 strategies for active living similar to those mentioned in the 2011 National Prevention Strategy, published by the National Prevention Council through the General Surgeon's Office. It outlines strategies that would increase physical activity in all segments of the population, with special emphasis towards the vulnerable and at-risk populations. The plan features recommendations for 8 different sectors of society, which include: Business and industry Education Health Care Mass ...

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Mayor of Los Angeles Seeks to Bring More Parks to LA Through the 50 Parks Initiative



The city of Los Angeles Parks and Recreation Department is acquiring land to provide 50 new parks in park-poor, population-dense neighborhoods. In 2009, the the city of Los Angeles conducted an assessment of it's parks and found that many low-income neighborhoods lacked sufficient park space and facilities. As a result, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa decided to launch the 50 Parks Initiative. Now, approximately $80.9 million in funding has been secured for the acquisition, design, and construction of  50 new parks. The city of Los Angeles has been able to acquire blighted properties to create more green space, by building "pocket" parks for children living in the underserved areas of Los Angeles. According to a January 2013 NBC News 4 report, the city had already built 7 parks, and had 10 ...

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A Baltimore Supermarket Buses Shoppers out of Food Deserts and into the Store



In East Baltimore, just hopping into a car and driving to pick up apples from the grocery store is not that easy. Many residents in the area don't have cars, and grocery stores are not within walking distance. These types of areas are called food deserts, leaving residents little food choices, especially when it comes to healthy foods. One local supermarket is hoping to help. "They define food deserts by the distance that people have to walk to get to the supermarket and that distance could be as short as half a mile but they factor in poverty levels and vehicle ownership which is low in many neighborhoods in Baltimore." Santoni's Super Market Owner Rob Santoni, Jr. says. Santoni says the answer is not putting a market on every corner, but making it easier to get to the ones you have. On ...

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Mississippi Legislators Encourage Schools to Adopt Shared Use Agreements



In 2012, Mississippi legislators passed a bill to encourage the shared use of schoolyards. Soon after the legislation passed, a state Joint Use Agreement (shared use agreement) Toolkit was developed. Now schools across the state have begun to enact and implement shared use agreements, as a measure to support active living and reduce obesity, among Mississippians of all backgrounds. This slideshow presentation, "Health is Academic," describes how the use of resources can be maximized through partnerships and shared use agreements. Another slideshow presentation, "Integrating research, legal technical expertise, and advocacy to inform, shape and promote successful shared use legislation in Mississippi," shows how representatives from the  University of Florida, the Public Health Law ...

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An Elementary Classroom’s Plea for More Recess



Ms. Wells’s second grade class in Fort Mills, South Carolina, wrote a letter to the Fort Mills Times editor, explaining their desire to have a second recess period at their school. In the letter they explain that more physical activity time will improve their ability to "focus better" in their classroom. Read the letter that Ms. Wells's class sent to the editor of the Fort Mills ...

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Houston Launches ‘The Healthy Houston Initiative’ to Combat Obesity



In September 2012, Mayor Annise Parker of Houston announced the launch of The Healthy Houston Initiative to help combat obesity in the city of Houston, Texas. The initiative will work to address food deserts, improve the Houston bike share program, expand hike and bike trails, and promote avenues for more physical activity. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uhywt4njET4 This press release from Mayor Parker's office announces the launch of the Healthy Houston Initiative which will be led by a 22 member task force.  According to this statement, in 2010, 28% of fourth graders, 17% of adolescents age 15-18 and 29% of adults in Houston/Harris County were obese. According to a news article from the Houston Chronicle, Men's Fitness Magazine once named Houston the fattest city in the nation. The ...

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Washington Schools Improving Nutrition through New Wellness Policy



Schools in Wenatchee School District, Wa., will be seeing healthier meals in their lunch rooms and an improved effort to change the way food is used throughout the school day. The District's food service director, Kent Getzin, is focusing on encouraging students to try new foods, showing students where foods come from, and changing the way food is used in the school as reward or fund raising opportunities. “It comes back to our philosophy about our kids being healthy, and eating well, and the impact that has on learning,” said Superintendent Brian Flones, in The Wenatchee World article , “Like any other life skill, kids need to learn early what’s going to be best for them. And if we’re not modeling it with what we do at school, they’re going to probably leave with a lot ...

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