GC gets behind plan to shape up Ohio

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Grove City leaders get behind a plan to get residents moving – physically.

The city passed a resolution to endorse the Ohio Physical Activity Plan; a statewide plan of action developed by citizens of Ohio to address the epidemic of physical inactivity and its sometimes deadly consequences. This plan focuses on programs, policies and environmental changes to encourage Ohioans to be more physically active.

"We have engineered activity out of our lives, in part due to technology," said Kim Conrad, director of Grove City Parks and Recreation. "This plan is a way to get some of that activity back in our lives."

Conrad explained that this initiative is endorsed by agencies throughout the state. It was developed by a consortium including the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association and the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association. Conrad worked on the administration team that put the plan in place.

"The city has pledged to endorse and follow the plan," she said.

The endorsement of this plan will position Grove City to be a part of the solution of addressing the epidemic of physical activity in the State of Ohio. Conrad explained that, by endorsing the Ohio Physical Activity Plan, the city will look at programs geared to active lifestyles. They would examine ways to make the community more walkable and bike friendly.

"It also might include adding more walking trails in the parks and encouraging local schools to implement programs to add physical activity in the lives of the students," said Conrad.

Obesity

The Surgeon General of the United States recommends that all adults get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, five days a week to reduce the risk for chronic disease and an early death. This amount of daily activity is known to reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease, type two diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, clinical depression, dementia and a growing number of cancers. Only about 47 percent of Ohio adults get sufficient amounts of physical activity.

According to studies, almost two-thirds of Ohio adults were overweight or obese in 2006. Obesity is also on the rise in children and teens. The number of overweight children has tripled in the last 20 years.

Ohio’s estimated cost of inactivity and poor nutrition is approximately $3.3 billion a year. Nearly $1.75 billion of that amount is paid by the taxpayers through the cost of Medicaid and Medicare.

Plan of action

Communities, like Grove City that are part of the plan, could make changes in the area that would include designing buildings, streets and open spaces that are safer and more appetizing for activity. The city and citizens would work together on land use, planning and urban design to create settings that encourage physical activity for all people.

"I would like to see more people utilizing our parks," said Conrad. "Gyms and recreation centers are wonderful but you don’t have to spend money to get physical. You can go to a park or simply go out in your yard."

The Ohio Physical Activity Plan encourages schools and places of employment to get behind the program. It says schools must institutionalize routine physical activity, not only through physical education and sports, but also activities such as recess and physical activity opportunities built into the academic curriculum. Conrad said the plan also encourages state leaders to set physical education standards for schools.

Grove City already has multiple bike paths but Conrad would like to see more. According to the plan, communities with more connected walk and bike paths, will have fewer automobile trips and more people traveling in a physically-active way.

The statewide plan wants to implement this action over the next five years. The leaders behind it believe that if it is followed, Ohio will be among the top 20 healthiest states in America and the rate of obesity will be cut in half.

Local activities

Conrad has already implemented a Bike and Hike series in the city. It is designed to get residents outdoors and active, but she also wants to learn what they think of the parks in Grove City.

Each month, parks and recreation members will meet community members at a local park. The next session will be a Dog Jog, scheduled on Feb. 23 at Fryer Park from 9-10 a.m. If you are interested, meet in the parking lot adjacent to the Fryer House, 3899 Orders Road. Dogs are welcome but not required. They also must be leashed and under control of the owner.

On March 16, there will be an Irish Jig event at Windsor Park from 1-2 p.m. Meet in front of the Evans Senior Center, 4330 Dudley Ave.

For additional information on the Bike and Hike series or other programs, contact Grove City Parks and Recreation at 277-3050 or log onto www.grovecityohio.gov.

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