Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler announced Friday a five-year challenge to the community to make healthy living a top priority.
He said the problem of obesity has huge ramifications for individuals and for society and called on young people and adults to improve their health with more physical activity and better food choices.
“While life expectancy in this country has increased to an all-time high, the quality of life has not increased along with these extended years and chronic diseases are a major factor,” said Beutler.
“These diseases are preventable or can be delayed by making good health choices and by teaching our children to make good choices. The common denominators in most chronic diseases are obesity and physical inactivity. We rightfully focus much attention on the prevention of childhood obesity, but we also must focus on adults because it’s never too late to start making healthier choices. Even small changes can make a big difference.”
The mayor’s challenge includes five goals to reach by 2018:
-Decrease obesity among adults from the current 24.4 percent to 15 percent
-Increase the percentage of youth (ninth through 12th grades) at a healthy weight from the current 68.6 percent to 80 percent
-Increase the percentage of adults who get at least 30 minutes a day of physical activity five or more days each week from 52.2 percent to 75 percent
-Increase the percentage of youth who get 60 minutes of physical activity at least three days each week from the current 75.5 percent to 85 percent
-Increase the percentage of both adults and youth who eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day from 15.9 percent and 16.2 percent respectively to 25 percent
The current percentages are from the most recent local data from the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chronic illnesses account for 70 percent of deaths and at least 75 percent of health care costs in the U.S.
Mayor Beutler was among the group of a mayors invited by the National League of Cities and the White House last month to discuss how mayors can help reverse rising obesity rates. He was invited because of Lincoln’s designation as a Let’s Move! City and the community’s focus on healthy living. Let’s Move! is first lady Michelle Obama’s obesity prevention initiative.