Jan. 9, 2013
Mayor Greg Stanton, Councilman Daniel Valenzuela and Olympic Gold Medalist Misty Hyman on Wednesday kicked off FitPHX, a new city health initiative to get Phoenix in shape.
FitPHX will better connect Phoenix communities to existing city health-related programs and services by encouraging participation in physical-fitness events and other activities that promote wellness.
“FitPHX is an opportunity to get out, get fit and be healthy,” said Stanton, who through exercise and better nutrition lost 50 pounds in 2009. “It doesn’t have to be difficult to get in shape and we’re here to make it easy so Phoenix can be one of the healthiest cities in the nation.”
Generally, the Phoenix metropolitan statistical area tends to rank mid-pack in surveys of the healthiest major U.S. cities. In 2012, the American Fitness Index ranked the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale area 26th out of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the country for health and community fitness status.
The study indicated that the Phoenix metro area excels in:
Lower death rate for cardiovascular disease
- Lower death rate for diabetes
- Higher percentage of city land area as parkland
- More acres of parkland per capita
The study also noted areas in need of improvement:
Phoenix is in need of more recreational facilities such as parks, pools, tennis courts and playgrounds.
- The population of the greater Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale area has a higher rate of asthma and angina or coronary heart disease than other large U.S. cities and has a lower number of primary health-care providers per 100,000 of population.
- Finally, the report notes a lower level of state requirements for school physical education.
“I am a strong proponent of becoming more active to benefit your body, mind and spirit,” Valenzuela said. “FitPHX will help you take that first step and all the steps that will add up to a healthier lifestyle. Prevention really is the best medicine.”
The FitPHX campaign, approved by the city council Tuesday, will seek to increase Phoenix’s rankings in the American Fitness Index by better connecting the community to city health-related programs and services and by encouraging participation in physical-fitness events, nutrition classes and other activities that promote personal wellness.
FitPHX will focus on personal health indicator priority improvement areas identified by the index, including:
- Nutrition education
- Angina or coronary heart disease
- Using public transportation to work
- Bicycling or walking to work
As the FitPHX program develops, components will also include a marketing and public information effort including social media outlets as well as community events and partnerships. In addition, a FitPHX website will be developed and launched on phoenix.gov. Updates, new programs and phases of FitPHX will be announced as they become available.
“The new year is a great time to get healthy and stay healthy,” Hyman said. “You can do small things each day that can make a big difference. This program will be a great resource for Phoenicians who want to create a healthier lifestyle.”
More information is available on the FitPHX website.