Mayor-President Kip Holden is waging war against childhood obesity and sedentary lifestyles.
He started the fight four years ago when he created The Mayor’s Healthy City Initiative to coordinate community efforts aimed at healthy eating and active lifestyles.
Holden and the initiative’s community partners took another step Wednesday when they unveiled the city-parish’s new healthy city website, http://www.healthyBR.com.
Holden said the website is a collection of local resources and information Baton Rouge residents can use in their efforts to find a healthy lifestyle.
“All of us here know someone who is obese. My mother died of a heart attack. And she was only 51 years old,” Holden said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon in the North Boulevard Town Square.
“It would not be an exaggeration to say this is a matter of life and death,” Holden said.
During Wednesday’s event, Holden and Coletta Barrett, chairwoman of the board of the Mayor’s Healthy City Initiative, announced the creation of the website as well as other new community programs aimed at making Baton Rouge a healthier city.
One of those programs is the Big River Economic and Agriculture Development Alliance’s Mobile Market, a food truck that will go out into neighborhoods, including those in ZIP codes 70802, 70805 and 70807, to give residents access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
Some neighborhoods in north Baton Rouge have been designated “food deserts,” or places where residents have limited access to affordable and nutritious foods, U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The food truck is slated to hit the streets of north Baton Rouge in February, BREADA Executive Director Copper Alvarez said.
“It will be a farmer’s market that will go out and feature two or three small farm farmers selling local produce,” Cooper said.
Alvarez also said the Mobile Market will feature cooking demonstrations and other events to promote healthy living.
The idea of “farm-to-table dining” is not only a concept for retail sales and home cooking. The philosophy is one held dear by Ruffino’s co-owner and chef Peter Scalfani.
Scalfani, also president of the Baton Rouge Epicurean Society, announced Wednesday the group’s new Healthy Kids Menu Project.
The program, put together by the Baton Rouge Dietetic Association and the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, was designed to encourage Baton Rouge restaurants to adopt and implement healthy menu options for children.
“You can’t make a restaurant take macaroni and cheese and chicken fingers off menus, but you can educate wait staff to promote healthier menu items. They can suggest having water or skim milk instead of carbonated drinks and having fruits and vegetables as a default side dish,” Scalfani said.
“Eating locally and healthy is not just for adults who like to eat out,” he said.