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By Mark Wineka
Salisbury Post
Salisbury, have you been working out?
Salisbury was one of five municipalities and two counties awarded the “Fit Community” designation Thursday in North Carolina.
The initiative aims at combating obesity and excessive weight, and the designation rewards communities for supporting healthy eating, physical activity and tobacco-free living through policy and infrastructure.
Mayor Susan Kluttz accepted the award in Raleigh and told the Post it was “a tremendous honor to be recognized statewide” and exciting for her to represent Salisbury City Council at the presentation.
The Fit Community designation will be a good marketing and economic development tool, Kluttz predicted.
Salisbury receives a “Fit Community” highway sign for a city entrance; a plaque for the mayor’s office, recognition on the Fit Together Web site (www.FitTogetherNC.org); and use of the Fit Community logo for all communications.
The Salisbury Parks and Recreation Department took the lead in applying for the designation.
The whole community played a part in earning the award through things such as the city’s greenways, its Vision 2020 growth policy, its parks, the Hurley Family YMCA, Rufty-Holmes Senior Center, schools and more, Kluttz said.
Thirty cities, counties and towns applied for the designation in 2007, the second year for the award.
The six other communities winning the Fit Community honor included Shelby, Carrboro, Cary, Edenton, Mecklenburg County and Pitt County.
Fit Together, a statewide initiative by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and the N.C. Health and Wellness Trust Fund, sponsors the awards.
The selection process was managed by Active Living By Design, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation of Chapel Hill.
A Fit Together press release said 61 percent of adults in North Carolina are overweight or obese, and 25 percent reported no exercise in the prior 30 days.
“The health of our people is the foundation for the well being of our communities,” said Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue, who joined Bob Greczyn, president and chief executive officer of Blue Cross and Blue Shield, in presenting the awards.
“These communities are making a real difference for their residents by promoting healthy living.”
Kluttz said she first heard of the Fit Community designation last year in Asheville, where she saw a television commercial touting Asheville as a Fit Community..
She returned and asked why Salisbury couldn’t try for the same designation, because it seemed to have everything Asheville had.
“Sure enough, here we are winning it,” Kluttz said from Raleigh Thursday.
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263 or mwineka@salisburypost.com.

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