LOUISVILLE (Jan. 18, 2012) – Louisville’s efforts to combat youth obesity are gaining national attention as Mayor Greg Fischer today accepted the first annual Childhood Obesity Prevention award at the U.S. Conference of Mayor’s winter meeting in Washington D.C.
The award cites Louisville’s accomplishments under the Mayor’s Healthy Hometown Movement ranging from stores that bring fresh produce to underserved neighborhoods to gardens at local schools to voluntary menu labeling at local restaurants. It comes with funding of $150,000 that will help the city expand the initiative.
“Creating a healthier Louisville is one of our top goals and although we are way too high on the list of many health risks, this award shows we are working hard toward a solution to these challenges,” Fischer said.
The award praises the involvement of the Louisville Youth Advocates, a group of about 50 youth ages 12-18, who canvassed west Louisville neighborhoods and found that increased access to fresh, healthy foods was a top priority. Their findings helped lead to the opening of six Healthy in a Hurry Corner stores which are now providing fruits and vegetables in neighborhoods such as Shawnee, Chickasaw and Smoketown.
The Childhood Obesity Prevention award carries funding of $150,000 that Fischer said will be used to get the Youth Advocates even more engaged in bringing fresh produce to residents that lack it. The efforts include developing more community gardens and making the fresh produce available to the Healthy in a Hurry stores at lower than market costs.
“We will use the funding that comes with this award to help empower young people to become more entrepreneurial as well as to become change agents as they help to improve access to healthy foods right in their own neighborhoods,” Fischer said.
Louisville’s award was in the big city category. Lima, Ohio and Allentown, PA won awards in the smaller city competition.