Houston Fights Obesity With New Collaborations

A task force of 22 people will look at how to reduce obesity in the Houston area.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker launched the task force called Healthy Houston.

The group is charged with making recommendations and implementing actions to reduce obesity and promote healthy eating and exercise.

Parker says the group will examine issues like food deserts, the availability of fresh produce, school and work exercise programs and education.

"In 2010, it was reported that 28 percent of fourth graders, 17 percent of adolescents aged 15-18 and 29 percent of adults in Harris County were obese. These factors result in a decreased quality of life, increased medical expenses and a shortened life span."

Dr. Faith Foreman, Assistant Director of the Houston Department of Health and Human Services, will co-chair the task force.

"We have already begun lots of work in the Houston community through our gardens, through our farmers markets, through our many activities focusing on wellness. The task force is looking forward to actually bringing all those things together, closing that loop and actually making Houston a healthier place for people to work, live and play."

A report from the group Food Trust indicates Houston has fewer supermarkets per capita than most other large cities in the U.S.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...