Fit City Challenge Revisits Goals, Accomplishments – Nearly a year after its creation, the Fit City Challenge celebrated accomplishments Wednesday and its leaders vowed to continue promoting healthy lifestyle decisions.
Dave Berry, the volunteer organization’s leader, said there is much to do in order to continue the fitness movement in Tyler.
“We want to spend our time today talking about the Fit City Challenge and how little by little we are having an impact and changing our community,” said Berry, editor of the Tyler Morning Telegraph
The effort was launched last year when the newspaper and its media partner KYTX CBS19 presented stories on the dangers of obesity. Community leaders representing broad interests then formed a volunteer group and adopted a mission statement: Making Tyler a fit city one step, one bite and one health-conscious decision at a time.
City Manager Mark McDaniel will sponsor a weekday workout session for fathers and men who are not getting enough exercise. He specifically called out Nelson Clyde, the newspaper’s publisher, to take part, saying that if Clyde participated 60 percent of the time, McDaniel would shave his own head.
The volunteers have hosted a fitness fair in Bergfeld Park, launched a workplace wellness outreach, supported other community health events and began sending out fitness messages.
Dr. Barbara Huggins, a pediatrician, told those who met Wednesday at the Greater Tyler Association of Realtors’ headquarters, that they should set good examples in their families.
“Though there are a lot of good things happening all over the country, the programs that actually showed a fair measure of success were the programs where the family was the focus of the intervention,” she said.
“If you are part of a family — celebrate it. You’re going to need them to be part of your (health and fitness) effort,” she continued.
All must figure out a way to take on the “Goliath” of being unfit, Dr. Huggins continued.
City Manager Mark McDaniel said he will sponsor a weekday workout session for fathers and men who are not getting enough exercise.
McDaniel’s Pray Off Pounds (POPS) will take place each weekday from April 25 to June 3 beginning at 6 a.m. on Rose Rudman Trail. He said those who want to participate will pray, walk or run on the trail and conclude with prayer.
He specifically called out Nelson Clyde, the newspaper’s publisher, to take part, saying that if Clyde participated 60 percent of the time, McDaniel would shave his own head.
Clyde later enthusiastically accepted the challenge. “Tell the city manager, ‘Game on,’ I’m in, and I think he (McDaniel) would look good with a shaved head,” responded Clyde.
McDaniel suggested all adopt May as “Ditch the Dessert” Month. He said work lunches are often not healthy and include fatty desserts.
“Skip the dessert,” he said. “Have a mint instead.”
“Each of us needs to come up with our own way to achieve a fit city,” McDaniel said.
Many groups are promoting fitness, acknowledged Berry. Texas College is sponsoring a 1,000-mile walking challenge. At Andy Woods Elementary, students and their parents walk before school starts. St. Paul Children’s Foundation has a new program promoting health in the Spanish-speaking community.
Berry said the coalition will use the newspaper, fitcitytyler.com website, social media and other resources to distribute messages promoting the need to be physically active at least 20 minutes a day, to eat a good breakfast and get at least seven hours of sleep each night.
Berry asked those present to dream big, share their talents and collaborate as a way to sustain the fitness movement.
“This is not a quick fix,” Berry said. “But over time, short-term gains can become lasting lifestyle changes.”
By DANNY MOGLE