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Mayor Announces Nashville to Host 2013 Southern Obesity Summit


Event is the Largest Regional Obesity Prevention Event in the Country

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Mayor Karl Dean today announced that Nashville will host the 7th Annual Southern Obesity Summit in fall, 2013. He made the announcement at the 6th Annual Southern Obesity Summit, which is being held in Charlotte, N.C. The event is the largest regional obesity prevention event in the country, drawing hundreds of participants from 16 Southern states.

“Nashville and the entire Southeast is the battleground for this issue of obesity,” Dean said. “It is clear to me that the fight over a country regaining its health is going to occur in the South. I am proud Nashville will host the Southern Obesity Summit next year as we work together to find ways to help people live healthier, active lives.”

During the summit, participants discuss effective and emerging obesity prevention and reduction practices in the region. Youth participants also play a major role, sharing ideas on effective strategies and providing their perspective on obesity prevention.

“We are thrilled to be going to Nashville in 2013 for the Southern Obesity Summit,” said Camille Miller CEO of the Texas Health Institute, the summit co-host. “Mayor Dean’s great work to make Nashville an exercise-friendly city and his challenge to get people walking make it a perfect place to bring together leadership from across the South and continue to strategize on obesity prevention.”

Mayor Dean has made promoting healthy, active living a major focus. Last year, he challenged and inspired Nashville residents to get more physically active through two highly-successful healthy living campaigns: Walk 100 Miles with the Mayor and the Mayor’s Challenge 5K Walk/Run, which together engaged more than 10,000 Nashvillians. Both initiatives are back this year. Walk 100 is currently underway and the Second Annual Mayor’s Challenge 5K will be Nov. 18. Last spring’s Mayor’s Field Day, which drew more than 3,300 participants, will return next spring.

Mayor Dean also continues to invest in creating more healthy and livable communities through improvements to parks, greenways, bikeways, sidewalks, complete streets and health facilities. Since taking office, he has allocated, and the Metro Council has approved, the expenditure of more than $130 million on health-related infrastructure.

Nashville’s commitment to become more active and live healthier has attracted national attention. HBO’s documentary series The Weight of the Nation released this past spring spotlighted the first Walk 100 Miles initiative, the city’s health-friendly infrastructure and other efforts to curb obesity and encourage exercise.

Attendees at the Southern Obesity Summit include policymakers, leaders from community-based organizations, federal and state government officials, health care providers, youth and members from national and state associations.

States participating in the Southern Obesity Summit are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

The Southern Obesity Summit began with seed capital from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as a spinoff project of the Southern Rural Access Program, a seven-year initiative to improve access to care. The Southern Rural Access Program’s National Advisory Committee was led by Dr. Regina Benjamin, the current Surgeon General of the United States. The Texas Health Institute and Arkansas Center for Health Improvement partnered to put on the inaugural Southern Obesity Summit in Little Rock in 2007. Birmingham, Ala., hosted the summit in 2008; Austin, Texas, in 2009; Atlanta, Ga., in 2010; New Orleans, La., in 2011; and Charlotte, N.C., in 2012.