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Wisconsin town proposes "obesity map"

Published On: May 18 2013 06:50:46 AM CDT   Updated On: May 18 2013 06:50:57 AM CDT

There are many ways a city could go about encouraging healthy living.  One of several ideas the city of Eau Claire, Wisc. is proposing is an "obesity map".

The map would describe possible areas that people are more overweight.

It's a unique step that's never been done in Eau Claire before. The data would be calculated using the body mass index.

"By mapping we can get a sense of what neighborhoods in the community that might need some more attention," says Lieske Giese, with the Eau Claire City-County Health Department.  

Those areas could potentially see more walking trails, parks, or even a community garden.

Eau Claire resident, Heather Thom, says, "I think it's a great idea, I've struggled with my weight my whole life and just having more options of things to do, and Eau Claire is a great town to do things outside. I think that's an awesome idea."

Eau Claire resident, Mari Griffith, says, "I think that's really invasive of the city to even try and do something like that, they can look around the city and find parts that don't have parks or trails and just put them in for everybody to enjoy. They don't need to know where the quote on quote, "bigger people" live, in order to improve the city that way."

One concern expressed by some community members is this is an overstep in privacy.

The obesity mapping policy is just one part of the comprehensive health plan. The city says this summer the plan commission will hold a public hearing and the city council will eventually vote for final approval on the plan.

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