Lani Telian, Department of Public Health
More and more communities are making changes within their town or city’s walls that aim to increase healthy eating and active living. And for many Mass in Motion communities, making the healthy choice the easy choice is what it’s all about.
There are lots ways to increase access to healthy foods and opportunities to be active. Not every community is the same, and neither are the changes they’re choosing to make.
We’re excited about the partnership between New Bedford and Fall River – two communities that have partnered up to create a major SouthCoast bike path that is currently in the works. You may remember us highlighting the Healthy Dining New Bedford program, where New Bedford restaurants are being encouraged to apply to be a “healthy dining” restaurant to show off their healthier menu items. Weymouth had a similar idea, but went about it in a whole different way. They worked with Olympic Pizza to craft a perfect addition to their menu with healthy options, smaller portions and unique combinations that Weymouth residents are crazy about.
In Franklin, many residents will soon find themselves knee-deep in vegetables and fruits as a result of the community garden they’ve worked hard to build. These community members recognized the importance of locally grown, fresh produce that’s accessible and healthy!
Gloucester has several projects underway to transform the city into a safe, friendly, walk-able environment. These efforts include improving sidewalks, increasing pedestrian access to the harbor front areas, and developing an Open Space and Recreation Plan to make way for safer parks for kids and families.
While most communities’ schools would be empty at 6:00pm, Springfield school gyms are packed all winter long as a result of their new open gym policy. City workers and the Springfield Mass in Motion leaders are promoting school gyms as safe places for kids and adults to be active in the evenings!
Not only is Fitchburg making huge progress by forming a large, steady partnership with key agencies and organizations within the community, but they’re also auditing and cleaning up parks to create safe places for kids to play!
Different community, different efforts – but all of these efforts are helping to change the environments around us by making it easier to be active and eat healthy. To make similar changes to your community, check out Mass in Motion for resources on making changes at a community level.