HOUSTON, Miss. (WCBI) – Mississippi has the 2nd highest obesity rate in the nation. One local community says no more.
The city of Houston is implementing its first health initiative. She’s back now in the studio with more.
The Healthy Houston initiative is a city-wide effort, spear headed by the board of aldermen, to give residents a healthier start to the new year.
They’re working toward a healthier Houston and 2 alderwomen hope some friendly competition among neighbors and the promise of prizes will get the whole town on board.
“To kick off the year is our weight loss competition. The person with the greatest percentage of weight loss will win an individual prize. The ward that has the greatest percentage of weight loss will be awarded a $2500 piece of playground equipment,” said Atkinson.
They’re calling it the “Healthy Houston Initiative.”
“We wanted to join together with organization in our town to create a committee that will offer more in healthy incentives throughout the year,” said Atkinson.
Atkinson and McKinney picked up the competition idea from attending regional meetings throughout the year.
“It’s approximately 8 weeks competition. Every 2 weeks, you come in and do weigh-ins. That weigh-in just lets you know where you stand in the competition,” said McKinney.
We also have workshops that are available for each weigh-in. There’s a workshop that focuses on various areas of weight loss.
The 2 say they’ve seen other communities benefit from similar competitions.
“Some of the things we noticed were other cities were awarded various grant moneys for different health initiatives in the state,” said Atkinson.
“A place in Hattiesburg they have done it three times and won the big prize of $50,000. We said that’s a good idea for us to try to do,” said McKinney.
McKinney says that personal weight loss and healthier lifestyles are a plus but the main goal is to give children a fun safe place to play.
“Our parks aren’t very good, so I think it’s a good idea for the kids and to do something for the whole community,” said McKinney.
State Grants can range from $25,000 to $100,000. You don’t have to be a resident to participate in Healthy Houston for more information about signing up visit the Houston Fire Department or call (662)-456-4190.