Dana LaBlanc, left, walks her dog, Henry, with her friend Marcie Atkinson and Atkinson’s twin 6-week-old daughters, Scarlett and Summer, at the Riverwalk in Columbus on Friday. The Mayor’s Walk will be held at the Riverwalk the first and third Saturdays of each month beginning in April. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff
March 24, 2014 10:26:57 AM
Columbus Mayor Robert Smith is encouraging citizens to join him at the Riverwalk for the first annual Mayor's Walk.
Beginning on Saturday, April 5, the walk will occur on the first and third Saturday of each month from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. The motto of the walk is "To lead by example, inspire and empower the community by improving the quality of health."
Smith said leading by example is a way he hopes will encourage Columbus residents to get involved.
"Our goal is to promote a better quality of life for all of our citizens for the city of Columbus," Smith said. "Anyone that wants to get involved and live a healthier lifestyle, this is a great opportunity. What better way to lead by example?"
The idea for the Health Walk came after a group of nursing students from Mississippi University for Women met with Smith for a class project. According to student Yvonne Robinson, she and her classmates conducted a community assessment of Columbus and saw the need for a physical fitness program. Robinson and Smith came up with the idea of the Health Walk.
Citing Mississippi's high obesity rate, Robinson said the health walk is a much-needed way to get people to exercise.
"Mississippi has one of the highest obesity rates, hypertension rates and diabetes rates, and we want to encourage every individual to be more responsible for their own health," she said. "Why not implement it with the mayor to shows he cares about the health of the community as a whole?"
Smith, who said he walks six miles at least three times a week, echoed Robinson's concerns about the health of local citizens.
"You walk at your own pace, if you can walk 2.2 miles and back, we're just encouraging everybody to get involved and live a healthier life," he said.
For more information on the walk, contact Robinson at 662-549-7909.
Sarah Fowler covers crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch. Follow her on Twitter @FowlerSarah
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