Task force plans action against obesity

Published 3:16 pm Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Members of the Board of Directors and the committee chairs after their Aug. 17 meeting in the Alabama Power Conference Center.(Photo by Steven Calhoun)

Members of the Board of Directors and the committee chairs after their Aug. 17 meeting in the Alabama Power Conference Center.(Photo by Steven Calhoun)


The Alabama Obesity Task Force held its quarterly meeting on Aug. 17 in the Alabama Power building in Clanton to discuss its efforts against Alabama’s high obesity rate.

Obesity in Alabama is a problem. According to stateofobesity.org, Alabama ranks fifth highest in adult obesity rate, and as of 2014, its adult obesity rate was 33 percent.

The mission statement of the Task Force is “Creating a healthier Alabama through obesity reduction and prevention efforts.” To achieve this goal, it “works through collaboration, programs, policy and environmental changes to support and promote healthy lifestyles.”

During the Task Force’s Aug. 17 meeting, representatives from the Montgomery Area Food Bank, the University of Alabama Center for Economic Development (UACED) and the Lakeshore Foundation all spoke about ongoing projects that support the Task Force’s mission.

Brian Rushing, Director of Economic Development Initiatives at the University of Alabama Center for Economic Development, discussed plans for a 100-mile trail challenge in Alabama. The plan would leverage people’s competitive spirits and turn physical activity into a contest. The goal for each person is to reach 100 miles of walking, running, or riding on Alabama trails in a year.

Rushing also discussed alabamarecreationtrails.org. The new site allows users to search Alabama’s trails and sort them by activity or by specific criteria such as wheelchair accessibility.

Amy Rauworth, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at the Lakeshore Foundation, discussed the Alabama Trails Commission’s plans for a system of uniform signage in all Alabama parks. Proposed signage would inform guests of the slope, width and terrain of each trail in the parks and would look much like a nutrition label. The hopes are that this will help those with disabilities know how to better take advantage of the state’s parks.

The Task Force plans to support these projects by continuing its Get Moving Alabama campaign. The campaign addresses the obesity epidemic by promoting active lifestyles. This year the group is also planning a sister campaign that will carry the momentum of its previous efforts by involving the public to a greater extent and adding a focus on nutrition.

“We want people to know that it’s not a closed group and that anyone can participate,” said Task Force Chair Allison Tubbs. The group hopes to focus the resources of volunteers and partners into promoting the health of Alabamians and combating the obesity rate.

To find out more about the Alabama Obesity Task Force, including how to join, visit adph.org/obesity. For more about Get Moving Alabama visit getmovingalabama.org.