The City of West Chicago, West Chicago Park District and Healthy West Chicago hosted a meeting of representatives of the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus at the ARC Center in West Chicago this week, where the agenda of its Environment Committee focused on programs that encourages active and healthy lifestyles.
Several communities in addition to West Chicago were highlighted for lifestyle programming efforts that encourage physical activity. The municipalities presenting included the Village of Niles for its Bike Niles program, the Village of Bensenville for B Well Bensenville, the City of Evanston for its Streets Alive initiative, and the City of West Chicago for Healthy West Chicago.
Among the presenters for West Chicago were Mayor Ruben Pineda, Tammy Pressley, Director of Community and Government Affairs for Northwestern Medicine, and Andi Cooper, Director of Healthy West Chicago. A brief history of the evolution of West Chicago’s initiative was followed by slides and videos illustrating progress made in ongoing efforts to create a citywide culture of health incorporating increased physical activity through Team Pineda, a community walking program, and healthy eating and beverage choices. Healthy West Chicago’s current ReThink Your Drink campaign, an awareness and educational campaign about the health risks associated with consuming sugar sweetened beverages, was also outlined.
Dr. Darwin Labarthe, of Northwestern University and the National Forum for Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention was present to talk about the Forum’s Move with the Mayor Challenge, a national effort that encourages 30-minutes of walking daily which can significantly cut heart disease risk. West Chicago was one of five cities nationwide to participate last September, and the Forum’s goal is to inspire other communities within the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus and throughout the country, to participate in 2017.
“This was an exciting meeting which brought multiple cities together to share information about creative strategies that increase the health and sustainability of their communities,” said Mayor Pineda. “As our country embarks on healthcare reform, our best defense will be self-imposed preventative healthcare measures. We need to focus on nutrition and physical fitness solutions that make the healthy choice the easy choice.”