Report Has Central VA Stalled in Unhealthy

Lynchburg, VA - The chart on Central Virginia's health is out and it leaves room for improvement. Out of 131 areas looked at in Virginia, Region 2000 fell smack in the middle on several benchmarks. But, some here at home, like Lynchburg Grows, refuse to just let those numbers stand.

Lynchburg Grows is all about healthy eating. And this brand new report that shows Central Virginia stuck in an unhealthy lifestyle has them worried. But, they've got an idea: they hope a food van gets Lynchburg a step closer to healthier lifestyles.

Michael Van Ness is opening the doors on the food van project. It's still in the works and it needs a few coats of paint, but this van has a lot of potential down the road.

"Everything that can be grown in Central VA, we will be highlighting and selling out of this van," said Van Ness, director, Lynchburg Grows.

The idea is simple: Fill the food van with healthy food, like fruits and vegetables grown in our hometown, and drive it around to our food deserts. Lynchburg has eight of them: neighborhoods without affordable, healthy food. Hopefully, this food van will change that.

"Sadly, this generation of children aren't expected to live as long as their parents, and it's because of dietary reasons. And so this is something that we need to address now instead of waiting until a later date," said Van Ness.

The numbers show the urgency for Lynchburg: 14% have limited access to healthy food.; 30%have no physical activity; and adult obesity has been hovering at 31%, an especially troubling number for Health Educator Leslie Hoglund, CVHD.

"An adult who is obese likely has children who are obese. And so we know that we need to start tackling this issue a little more aggressively," said Hoglund.

And they are. At a Thursday day-long workshop community leaders brainstormed on how to design Lynchburg to help make us more physically active. It's called the Complete Streets Workshop. It's sessions like this and projects like the food van that are steps to getting Lynchburg healthy and fit again.

"It makes you want to work harder to start impacting those numbers," said Hoglund.

To lower childhood obesity, the people behind this food van want to get kids in to it. A competition is gearing up in city schools allowing students to design the wrap for this van. Hopefully, it will hit the roads - maybe your neighborhood - May 1.