Obesity causes or exacerbates numerous chronic diseases and conditions that can lead to death, including diabetes and hypertension. In an effort to address the obesity epidemic in Arkansas, the governor-led Healthy Active Arkansas (HAA) initiative was launched to provide a 10-year framework with phased goals to increase the percentage of Arkansans who are at a healthy weight. As part of this initiative and support by funding from the Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas, the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement convened five statewide learning network meetings to engage, recruit, and activate a network of local champions to assist in meeting these goals. This study, featuring the North Little Rock Fit2Live initiative to address the obesity epidemic for its employees and community, is part of a series of case studies highlighting success stories from the HAA Statewide Learning Network.
The North Little Rock’s Fit2Live initiative, created in partnership with the North Little Rock School District and City of North Little Rock in 2009, has adopted a comprehensive approach to address the health and well-being of both employees and community members. Some of the programs and activities include:
- Establishing wellness physical, fitness center reimbursement, and health fairs for city employees
- Creating over 20 community gardens within the community for residents to grow fruits and vegetables
- Increasing bicycle and pedestrian safety
- Partnering with groups such as the Arkansas Coalition for Obesity Prevention (ArCOP), Arkansas GardenCorps; the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension – Pulaski county, Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, Plantopia, and American Composting