Did you realize that 1 in 3 children and 2 in 3 adults are overweight? Obesity has cost businesses $4.3 billion in annual losses because of health-related job absenteeism. These stats come from the Institute of Medicine.  Even more alarming is the health problems that occur such as Cardiovascular Disease, Type 2 Diabetes and High Blood Pressure.

In order to have an impact on this epidemic, there are 5 areas that need improvement: Physical Activity, Food and Beverages, Marketing, Healthcare, Workplace and Schools. GMA has decided to do something about this issue with the See.Walk.Cities initiative.  The initiative is a fun, social challenge to determine the most active City in Georgia while highlighting all the great events in various communities.

There is so much focus in this country around healthy lifestyles, communities and changing behaviors that sometimes we get lost in the stats and need to spend more time making things socially fun.  When I developed the Atlanta BeltLine Running Series in 2010, it took a lot of work in the beginning. This year, we have seen some amazing support and growth.  We literally have had businesses calling us to get involved with either sponsorships or nutritional product.  In fact, I had one grocery chain tell me that they are trying to put a physical path into their parking lot to connect to the Atlanta BeltLine.  So it’s been tremendous to not only see the participant growth but the community support.  Everybody wins with something like this and it takes a collaborative approach.

Because of the See.Walk.Cities initiative, we are working with various Cities in Georgia to share our experience in creating community connections with businesses, schools and families.  The initiative was created to be fun, engaging and rewarding.  Today we have our very first City getting set up.  The City of Perry already puts on walking events once a month in various districts.  We have created their team on the See.Walk.Cities community at: http://www.cmecompete.com/communities/see-walk-cities/. They will be listing their walking events and promoting their community. Not only can participants join the team but also attend the walks and help the team earn points in hopes of being listed as the most active city in Georgia.

We have found walking/running clubs to be very effective in not only discovering new areas, identifying improvements but also in collaborating with the community.  To get your City team set up, events loaded on the community and participation email info@cmecompete.com and we will walk you through the process. Yes there is a prize(s) that will be given out in December!

Stay tuned for information on additional benefits of setting up walking programs, how to drive sponsorship and economic value and the types of grants that exist for support of healthy community projects