Philadelphians are dying too young. Too many of our friends and neighbors in this city are dying early of diseases like diabetes, hypertension and heart disease, dying at far higher rates than in any of the other large US cities. Some of our neighborhoods even have a 10-year difference in life expectancy.
Yet we know how to prevent many of these premature deaths, how to keep parents alive and working to support their families and watch children and grandchildren succeed: we need to work together to encourage and enable people to eat healthier foods and to exercise more.
The Philadelphia Department of Public Health is launching Philly Powered, a new and innovative initiative designed to inspire all of us to find ways to get more active. This effort will include an 18-month media campaign using TV, print, radio, outdoor and social media. It will showcase real Philadelphians who have agreed to tell their stories, acting as health ambassadors to inspire us with the ways they have found to move more, finding better health for themselves and their families along the way.
These ambassadors also show us how they use city recreation centers, trails, parks and sporting venues and take advantage of other free or low cost physical activity opportunities in neighborhoods across the city to get moving, stay active, and change their future.
An Easy-to-Use Resource. We are telling everyone to find free/low-cost ways to get fit on Phillypowered.org. This toolbox is for anyone interested in finding ways to live more active, healthier, and longer life—no matter your current fitness level. Website highlights:
- Inspiring stories of Philadelphian fitness ambassadors full of helpful tips and words of encouragement who can relate to our struggles for a healthier lifestyle.
- A searchable database of hundreds of popular physical activities categorized by neighborhood.
- A source for everyday tips, seasonal ideas, don’t-miss events all across the city for trying out and flexing your fitness moves.
- Spanish translation of site content.
- Ways for you to share your fitness journey through #mymovesmyway.
Philly’s on the Move. Five years ago, PDPH launched its Get Healthy Philly initiative to reduce rates of obesity, diabetes and hypertension. And there are clear signs of progress. Rates of obesity and severe obesity among Philadelphia school children have decreased by 6.3% and 13.9%, respectively, between 2006 and 2013. This is in response to real changes that have been made in our diets, what we feed our children in school, and the availability of healthy food in our city. But we have much more to do.
Philly Powered will build on these citywide health gains in becoming a city in which neighborhood design, media messages, and workplace policies inspire daily physical activity. We will become a city where government, nonprofits, businesses, civic leaders, healthcare providers, and insurers collaborate to make the healthy choice the easy choice for all Philadelphians.
JAMES W. BUEHLER, M.D.,
City of Philadelphia