From an extensive parks and trail system to fitness classes at the Eagan Community Center, the city of Eagan has long been a champion of healthy living, according to Laurie Halverson.
And it's about time the city was recognized for its efforts, she believes.
That's why Halverson, the chair of Eagan's Advisory Parks Commission, advocated for the passage of a Healthy Eating, Active Living Resolution, a measure originally proposed by the Twin Cities Obesity Prevention Coalition. On March 20, the Eagan City Council unanimously approved passage of the resolution—believed to be the first of its kind in Minnesota
The three-page resolution acknowledges that obesity is a public health issue and says the city has an interest in preserving, promoting and improving the health of its residents by taking steps to increase better eating and active living. The document also calls upon city officials to improve access to public trails and sidewalks, support recreation programs, implement healthy vending machine policies and encourage growth of farmers' markets, among other actions.
Many of the points included in the resolution are activities the city is already performing, according to Halverson, who described the document as a non-binding framework or vision for health initiatives in the community.
“It brings a real recognition that [healthy living] is a priority for the community, it provides a framework for future leaders in our community to say this is where our health and wellness priorities lie, and I think it underscores Eagan’s leadership,” Halverson said.
The Twin Cities Obesity Prevention Coalition—a conglomeration of organizations, physicians and individuals—brought the resolution before the council, which referred it to the parks commission for consideration. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota joined the coalition in advocating for the resolution's passage.
More than 63 percent of Minnesota adults are overweight or obese, according to the coalition, and they are at risk for serious medical conditions like high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.
"Eagan was already well on its way—with a fantastic park and recreation system to help people stay active and a farmers market to encourage good nutrition," Dr. Marc Manley, Chief Prevention Officer for Blue Cross, wrote in a press release. I look forward to Eagan city leaders and staff considering health in their decision-making and working to ensure that healthy choices are easier for everyone."
To view a full copy of the resolution, click on the PDF attached to this article.