City Seeks Funding to Mend Local Obesity Issues

A new fitness center is set to be built at the Health Department as part of $20 million in grant monies. It is part of the continuing effort to fight diabetes and obesity in children.
The federal government is giving the state over $20 billion to spend on health initiatives, and our Health Department has a plan in place to use some of that money.

Corpus Christi has constantly been ranked as one of the fattest cities in the country. We are also known for having an extraordinary number of diabetics.

So, the Health Department has submitted two grants to try and secure $20 million worth of federal funding over the next four years. Those dollars are going to be used to fight both problems.

Obesity clinics and a state of the art fitness center are in the works to try and reverse the city's fat problem.

"We're coming together to solve all those problems, if we can, so that they can come and get the health they need and they don't have to worry about anything else but their own health," Public Health Authority Dr. William Burgin said.

"We're looking to see if we have space here on site, where we can actually build our own fitness center, so when the physicians are referring their patients over, they can come over," Public Health District Director Annette Rodriguez said. "And we'll have a trainer, and the parent has to come with the child so they'll get training, so at least twice a week they would come and at least 10 weeks long."

The Health Department is modeling its new approach after a British program called MEND. That stands for "mind," "exercise," "nutrition" and "do it."

The Department plans on setting MEND up to target childhood obesity. Children ages 7-11 will have to be obese or borderline obese to go through the twice-a-week, 10-week program.

That fitness center could be open by 2014. Also, the Health Department is looking to work with the school districts in getting the community back in shape.


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