By Madison Morse
Living in the Ledge Staff Reporter
Alarming rates of adolescents and adults not participating in physical exercise are rising in Michigan. The city of Grand Ledge is on a mission to improve these statistics.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention only 26.7 percent of adolescents are physically active on a daily basis and 25.5 percent of adults do not engage in any leisure time physical activity.
“We promoted an online active communities assessment. It determined how well the city of Grand Ledge was providing and encouraging an active community,” said Jill Sambaer, Eaton-Barry District Health Department Community Health Promotion Specialist. “They received a bronze place rating. This is not an unusual placement, it gives us a baseline of where we can go and improve upon.”
The bronze rating indicates that the community has taken significant steps toward making it easier for people to be physically active. Eighty-nine percent of residents in Grand Ledge who were a part of the survey said that planning documents, municipal ordinances and development review processes help assist decision-makers to create a community vision that includes walking and bicycling.
“I reach out to the community to encourage physical activity by offering a free class on the weekends,” said Self Defense and Fitness Inc. owner Randy Lundberg. “I put an ad in the theater downtown, post flyers in restaurant entrance and sometimes hold an open house. Usually 90 percent of the people end up signing up.”
Residents also believe that Grand Ledge has made great improvements to create a more active community according to Grand Ledge resident Kirsten Thompson.
“I think the fitness level is moderate. A co-ed softball league and Zumba are just one of the many new additions to the city,” said Thompson. “Instead of selling candy at school they had a fun run this year. There is now also a path along the river for walking and running too. It’s changes like this that effects the whole community.”
One way that Sambaer and her staff will be reaching out to students is with a back to school community health fair to take place at the end of the summer.
“Our goal is to get the community thinking about physical fitness and change to a healthy diet just in time for school to be back in session,” said Sambaer. “We are trying to get all the local businesses on board. We want to utilize all the resources we have available. Encouraging healthy behavior promotes the community on a positive level.”