New Orleans Pushes Toward Healthier Living

Jun 27, 2012

The city of New Orleans is stepping up efforts to help residents get fit. The plan calls for more movement and less junk food.

New Orleans is renowned for many things, but healthy living isn’t on the list. Mayor Mitch Landrieu says it’s time for a lifestyle adjustment.

“I know it’s hard for us in New Orleans because we have a culture, a deep and rich culture, that centers around food, that centers around fun, that centers around activity. But you know what, even we can do it in New Orleans because all it is, is about moderation and it’s about balance.”  

Landrieu unveiled the Fit NOLA partnership at the New Orleans Charter Math and Science High School. He told summer program students that he’s changing what vending machines will be selling.

“The purpose is to provide healthier food and beverage choices in vending machines at city-owned parks and facilities. Sometimes when you get in that vending machine you only have one choice. We want to give you more choices.”  

Details of his executive order are still being worked out regarding what the machines will stock. Health Commissioner Karen DeSalvo says the goal is to lift New Orleans out of some dismal statistics. The Centers for Disease Control says 64 percent of adults in New Orleans are overweight or obese. The diabetes rate is almost 4 percent higher than the national average.

“We want to be one of the most fit cities in the U.S. by 2018, which happens to be the 300thanniversary of the city of New Orleans.”

The city is backing more recreation programs, and offering incentives for selling fresh foods in neighborhoods where fruit and vegetables are scarce.