SANANTONIO -- What can San Antonio do to become a healthier city? Community leaders launched a plan to change the Alamo City in five key ways.

San Antonio has long held a reputation as one of the fattest cities in the country. Tackling obesity is one of a list of priorities set out by the Health Collaborative, a group with a vision for the future of the Alamo City.

It is a complicated, complex process, said San Antonio Metro Health Director Dr. Thomas Schlenker. It takes lots of different partners and a change in thinking and a change in physical environment. But ultimately I think we re going to win this one.

The Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) focuses on five priorities:

- Healthy Eating and Active Living

- Safe Communities

- Behavioral and Mental Health Well-Being

- Sexual Health

One barrier to physical fitness the group noted was a lack of community safety, including stray animals.

One of the issues that we discovered in the assessment was well, I would go out and walk but we have no lighting. We don t have the right sidewalks. We re worried about safety in the neighborhood, described Steve Blanchard, M.P.H., Ph.D., of the Health Collaborative.

Also high on the priority list is lowering teen pregnancy rates.

The Metro Health Director said coping with sedentary lifestyles and heavy diets is a profoundly important area needing change.

It s big, Schlenker stated. It s daunting. It s going to take a long time but it has to change or else we will not prosper as a community.

The information is out there, Blanchard noted. And they want to take action. So we re in a very good place.

The idea is that the city, county, health systems, businesses and schools will use the improvement plan and help find ways to make San Antonio a healthier place to live, work and visit.
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