OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - With Mississippi weighing in as the most obese state for the seventh year, Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran and others hope to create a new program to promote healthy living.
However, healthy living is more than just about losing weight. Officials say it's about protecting the future.
"If our trends do not reverse, then we are looking at one in three of our children developing diabetes as an adult," said Mayor Moran.
Ocean Springs is teaming up with the Gulf Coast Health Educators to make sure that's a stat Mississippi doesn't see. Educators, city officials, nutritionists, and others are creating a task force to encourage healthier lifestyles.
"This is about how every community can address childhood obesity issues, and obesity issues in general. What can we do as a city to create healthier opportunities?" said Moran.
The task force will address general health, but focus on preventing child obesity. They will also work with schools and programs, like the YMCA, to give kids better building blocks for a healthy and active future.
"We have ages five through 12 here in our camps. And if we can get that instilled in them now, we just feel like they'll have a longer, happier, healthier life," said Gulf Coast YMCA Youth Services Director Scott Holden.
Adding to the city's bike paths and walking trails is another way officials hope to encourage everyone to become more active. To promote nutrition, the mayor hopes to create community gardens where kids and families can get excited about healthy eating.
The task force has its first meeting July 18, from 11am to 1pm at Ocean Springs City Hall. If you want to get involved, contact the Mayor's Office at (228) 875-4236.