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Free fitness program aims to improve health in East Waco community

Posted at 8:52 AM, May 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-28 09:52:22-04

WACO, TX  — A free six-week fitness program aims to improve health of the community members in East Waco.

The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District said East Waco has higher obesity rates than other areas of the city.

An initiative called Move East Waco wants to help change that by helping folks make healthy choices and be more active.

This summer, Grassroots Community Development, Baylor University Health and Wellness, Waco YMCA, Live Well Waco, Texas Hungry Initiative and other groups are providing free workouts and health education classes to neighbors twice a week.

"To plant a seed, to plant an idea to plant a vision, an inspiration, to get physically fit and get more active," said Cuevas Peacock, Grassroots Community Development Community organizer and Move East Waco co-chair.

According to Waco-McLennan County Public Health, a 2018 survey showed East Waco had a 50 percent obesity rate compared to the 36 percent of the overall rate in Waco.

"They are not eating fruits and vegetables. They just have a diet that is higher in saturated fats. It's contributing to low access to healthier foods that we see in the East Waco community. We also see a little more sedentary behavior, so people are not working out as often," said Ashley Williams, public health education specialist.

The health district also found folks in East Waco also have high rates of type two diabetes and Cardiovascular disease.

Move East Waco, which was created to address those problems and provide affordable workouts, has engaging workouts for all fitness levels and ages.

"Finding something you love to do to move your body is the key and being consistent with it so by being here for six weeks, they find out what is it they like to do, then they will continue to do so," said Van Davis, Baylor assistant director of wellness.

Portia Forward, who is participating in the program, hopes to make the exercises part of her daily routine.

"My main goal is to make it my lifestyle and also learn how to eat the proper foods," Forward said.

The Move East Waco program will meet every Tuesday and Thursday at Oscar Duconge Park from now until June 27.