Community Health Action and Response Team to Release Plan

Reporter: Dhomonique Ricks l Videographer: Jemon Haskins

Lynchburg, VA - When Lynchburg landed on the list of top 10 most obese cities this year it changed the way a lot of us look at our health in the Hill City. As a result, the Community Health Action and Response Team was formed to get the city back in shape.

That group is made up of people from area companies including the city, the health department, even the Chamber of Commerce. They got a grant from the CDC to really dive into the issue and come up with healthy solutions.

Living healthy sounds simple, but sometimes it can be a challenge.

"If we're trying to tell people in a particular neighborhood or advise them to walk more and that neighborhood doesn't have sidewalks... for example, then walking can be dangerous," said Dr. Kerry Gateley, Central Virginia Health district heath director.

Lynchburg Health officials say it is often difficult for people to follow good health advice not because they don't want to but because there are so many barriers. They say taking the stairs is an example because they're only used if people think they're safe and are well-lit. If not, people may choose to use the elevator.

"What we would like organizations across the community to think about is the impact of their policies and the system and environment they put in place on people's health," said Gateley.

So this team is putting together a simple plan of action.

"To offer our citizens, organizations, non profits, work site sectors throughout the community healthier alternatives," said Pat Price, the ACHIEVE Community coach.

They want businesses and schools to work on changing certain policies and making physical activity and healthy eating more attractive and accessible.

"We've been in to area businesses for example to encourage them for example to offer more physical activity opportunities for their employees during the day," said Price.

The healthy action plan and budget were recently submitted and approved by the CDC as well. Members say the plan should be up and running in about one month. This plan will only be in effect in Lynchburg, but other cities can replicate it.