As a freshman trumpet player in Churchill High School’s marching band, Cesar Canizalez had trouble at marching practice because of his weight. Rather than put down his trumpet and quit the marching band, Cesar stood up. He started monitoring his diet and exercising, and today, two years later, he stands almost 60 pounds lighter, inspiring his classmates and teachers alike.
Cesar isn’t the only San Antonian taking the necessary steps to improve his well-being.
Between 2010 and 2012, San Antonio’s adult obesity rate dropped from 35.1 to 28.5 percent, a full three percentage points below the goal set for SA2020. In those two years, San Antonio went from well above the state average to one of the lowest rates among Texas’ major cities.
The 19-percent change means 70,000 fewer San Antonio adults classified as obese. That’s 70,000 mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts and uncles who are now reduced risk for the problems associated with obesity.
These difficulties aren’t just physical; they’re financial. A study₁ found that obese individuals pay 36% more in average healthcare fees per year than those who fall in the normal weight range, including more than double in prescription costs.
Fighting obesity makes business sense too. Obesity-caused absences cost U.S. businesses as much as $6.4 billion in productivity over one year₂.
Mayor Castro tries his hand at RoTenGo, a type of street tennis that originated in Barbados.
Mayor Castro is committed to making San Antonio the fittest city in the nation. B-Cycle, the city’s bike share program, is set to open up 10 new stations in August 2013, making it easier for citizens to get around town while staying in shape. City investment in local parks encourages families to get out, stay active and spend time together. Siclovía, a free event that turns major city streets into a safe place to exercise and play, drew more than 65,000 people this spring. ¡Por Vida! makes it easier for San Antonians to eat healthy at restaurants by identifying menu items that meet nutritional guidelines. On top of all this, the Mayor’s Fitness Council is constantly seeking out new solutions to continue San Antonio’s health surge.
People around the nation are taking notice of the city’s efforts. Just last month, the Coca-Cola Foundation gave $1.5 million to San Antonio Sports and the San Antonio Food Bank to start a series of health and fitness initiatives in local neighborhoods.
The drop in the obesity rate is worthy of celebration but, more importantly, is something to be built upon. With the success of current projects and the Mayor’s Fitness Council constantly looking for new solutions, San Antonio is taking broad, purposeful strides toward a healthier future.
₁ Thompson D, Brown JB, Nochols GA, Elmer PJ, Oster G. Body mass index and future healthcare costs: a retrospective cohort study. Obes Res. 2001;9(3):210-218.
₂ Trogdon JG, Finkelstein EA, Hylands T, Dellea PS, Kamal-Bahl. Indirect costs of obesity: a review of the current literature. Obes Rev. 2008;9(5):489-500.