Community Profile: San Antonio, Texas
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“I THINK THAT WE CAN MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE BY GIVING YOUNG PEOPLE A HEALTHIER OPTION THROUGH THESE SALAD BARS AND SET A LIFELONG HABIT OF EATING IN A HEALTHIER WAY. WHAT YOU DO NOW HAS A LIFELONG POSITIVE IMPACT.”
— Julián Castro, Mayor, City of San Antonio
“I HAVE A LOT OF CONFIDENCE IN PEOPLE. I BELIEVE THEY WILL TAKE THE HIGH ROAD WHEN IT'S AVAILABLE TO THEM, WHEN WE CREATE A BUILT ENVIRONMENT WHERE THE HEALTHY CHOICE BECOMES THE EASIER CHOICE.”
— Adelita, San Antonio resident
Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) is an initiative designed to make healthy living easier by promoting environmental changes at the local level. Through funding awarded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2010, a total of 50 communities are working to prevent obesity and tobacco use—the two leading preventable causes of death and disability.
San Antonio, Texas, is tackling obesity, a health condition that is prevalent throughout the city of 1,327,407 residents. In Bexar County, where San Antonio is located, 65.7% of adults are overweight or obese. In Texas, 32.4% of children aged 10-17 are overweight or obese.
Obesity rates among certain ethnic and racial populations in San Antonio are disproportionately high. For example, in Bexar County, 27% of black and Hispanic children are obese, while only 12% of white children are obese. In addition to obesity-prevention efforts aimed at the city's entire population, certain initiatives target high-risk groups.
If healthy options are not available, then healthy living is not possible. With the support of the CPPW initiative, San Antonio has implemented a variety of changes throughout the community to make healthy living easier.
To decrease the prevalence of obesity, San Antonio:
- Launched the ¡Por Vida! restaurant recognition program to help residents make healthier food choices when dining out by identifying healthy options. Healthier menu items are available in more than 100 restaurants, youth summer meal programs, and business and hospital cafeterias citywide.
- Instituted a bike-share program. Fourteen kiosks have been installed and four more kiosks currently are being planned. Subsidized memberships and bike signage in 43 locations have encouraged residents to use this active transportation option. Approximately 100 bikes are checked out every day.
- Launched an interactive Web portal (www.sabalance.org) and the public awareness initiative, Find Your Balance, providing San Antonio residents with basic steps to improve nutrition and increase physical activity.
- Installed fitness equipment stations in 22 parks and five libraries, making physical activity more accessible to residents throughout the community.
- Provided teachers in 361 schools throughout San Antonio with access to workshops, training tools, and physical activity equipment resources to increase the quality and frequency of physical education in schools. This effort reaches more than 365,000 students.
- Held a síclovía, an event where community streets were temporarily closed to automobiles and made available to residents for a range of physical activities such as bicycling, running, skating, yoga, and aerobics classes.
(The list above is a sample of all activities completed by the community.)
San Antonio Making Salad Bars Available to Nearly 100,000 Students
San Antonio is working with First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative and the San Antonio Mayor's Fitness Council to increase healthy meal options in the city's schools. Recently, 108 salad bars were placed in area elementary, middle, and high schools, making fresh fruits and vegetables available to nearly 100,000 students. To ensure salad bars offer appealing produce year-round, the San Antonio Metro Health District held a workshop connecting school districts with local food distributors to discuss strategies for helping cafeterias maintain inventories of fresh food. This effort is part of a larger healthy schools initiative that is being led by the Mayor's Fitness Council and the CPPW's Find Your Balance campaign, which is aimed at improving residents' nutrition and increasing their physical activity.
The leadership team includes high-level community leaders from multiple sectors, who have the combined resources and capacity to make healthy living easier. Members of San Antonio's leadership team are key agents for change in their community. The leadership team includes representatives from the following organizations:
- City of San Antonio Mayor's Office
- Baptist Health System
- Bexar County Health Collaborative
- Edgewood Family Network
- Harlandale Independent School District
- H-E-B Grocery Stores
- Library Foundation
- Northeast Independent School District
- Office of Environmental Policy, City of San Antonio
- Office of Parks and Recreation, City of San Antonio
- Office of Planning, City of San Antonio
- Office of Public Works, City of San Antonio
- Pearl Institute
- San Antonio Dietetic Association
- San Antonio Express-News
- San Antonio Food Bank
- San Antonio Housing Authority
- San Antonio Public Library
- San Antonio Restaurant Association
- St. Philip's College
- University Health System
- University of Texas at San Antonio, Department of Health and Kinesiology
- University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
- University of Texas School of Public Health, San Antonio Regional Campus
- YMCA of Greater San Antonio
- Page last reviewed: October 25, 2013
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