Saturday, April 9, 2011

Letter to editor: County getting fit

Letters to Editor April 7, 2011

In a presentation called "Health Planning,
Land Use and the Fit-Friendly Southwest
Florida Initiative," Dr. Judith Hartner of Lee
County Health Department illustrated how
local planning directly impacts individual

She described a sedentary nation
transforming into a $450 billion obesity
problem in less than two decades.

The way our cities and counties are
planned and built essentially engender
poor health. We are forced to use a car for
even the smallest errand, while even the
simplest human activity of walking has
been made dangerous. Today, being active
means driving to the local gym!

Wholesale change is needed, but since
these plans have been literally set in
concrete, this change will not be easy or

With the advocacy of citizen groups such as
BikeWalkLee, the county has adopted
"Complete Streets" policies. This was
followed by an award-winning
comprehensive plan to implement those
policies in land use and transportation

And now the Lee County health community
seeks to educate and motivate the public
through the Fit-Friendly Southwest Florida

I am grateful to Dr. Hartner and the
Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council
for providing the forum to discuss the
interface between the built environment
and daily physical activity and I hope this is
the beginning of a larger community

Fort Myers

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