That’s the goal of a new effort from the Mayor’s office.
Dubbed Healthy Houston, the effort will promote programs and policies aimed at getting Houstonians moving on bikes and walkways and in parks and playgrounds; improve access to healthy, affordable and locally produced food; and encourage backyard and community gardening.
“We know obesity is a significant health threat in our city,” the mayor said. “We want to tackle the issue with innovative ideas and thinking to help Houstonians make smart decisions to lead healthy lifestyles, prevent problems before they occur, lower health-care costs and increase productivity and quality of life.”
What’s different this time, said Dr. Shreela Sharma, a registered dietitian and assistant professor of epidemiology at The University of Texas School of Public Health, is that “a lot of initiatives are going on in Houston. There’s a lot of synergy, unlike ever before, which is really important.”
Sharma, on Parker’s Healthy Houston task force, said it will evaluate health and fitness initiatives to see which are effective and can be used to develop policy.
You can find more about the Mayor’s program here. If you’re somewhat careless in your googling, you may instead come across this Healthy Houston website, whose logo I’ve embedded in the post. Two things of interest there: One, if you look at the presentation on their What We Do page, there’s a primary focus on Houston’s uninsured population and bringing in new Federally Qualified Health Clinics to provide lower-cost care for them. Two, their Vice President is none other than former Council Member and Congressperson Shelley Sekula-Gibbs. Same name, different programs. Just so you know.