Arlington is one of nine cities sharing $745,000 in newly announced grants from the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America. The city will put its share to use by studying how Arlington citizens can take “Safe Walks” to a variety of beneficial city destinations.
All nine cities were winners of the 2023 Childhood Obesity Prevention & Environmental Health and Sustainability Awards, honoring programs that address childhood obesity, environmental health, and sustainability “by encouraging community members to engage in healthier behaviors.”
Arlington was the only Texas city to win one of the grants, which also went to Charlotte, North Carolina; Louisville, Kentucky; Lansing, Michigan; Allentown, Pennsylvania; Gastonia, North Carolina; Oak Park, Illinois; Aguadilla, Puerto Rico; and Mount Vernon, New York.
Arlington’s ‘Healthy Connections’ initiative
Arlington won 2nd place in the competition’s ‘large cities’ category for “Healthy Connections: A Healthy Arlington Initiative.” The program aims to turn Arlington into a more “walkable” city, by conducting a “walk audit” of the municipality.
The audit will explore “safer walks” and aims to mitigate health and wellness disparities by exploring pedestrian safety, accessibility, and the comfort of particular areas. By identifying “street inequities,” the city hopes to create safer and fairer street environments.
10-minute ‘Safe Walks’
The goal of the walk audit is to design 10-minute Safe Walks via a smartphone app. The walking trips will lead to healthy food sources as well as recreational and educational locations for Arlington families. The walks will be featured in a webinar series for Arlington residents and will be available on a Healthy Connections webpage on the city’s website.
‘America’s cities are on the front lines of the nation’s health’
“Thanks to our years-long partnership with the American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America, the conference has invested in cities to innovate on their most pressing health needs,” Tom Cochran, CEO and executive director of USCM, said in a statement. “America’s cities are on the front lines of the nation’s health and environmental struggles, and mayors are rising to the challenge. We’re proud to enable these kinds of local-led, community-driven solutions.”
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