Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Health and Wellness in Central Texas - Leadership Austin Engage Breakfast

The March 6, 2012 Leadership Austin "Engage Breakfast" focused on Regional Healthcare: Does Austin deserve its "Fit City" moniker?

Austin is acclaimed for its fitness lifestyle and our youthful and fit population, natural resources and great climate all lend themselves to our designation as the “Fit City.” But how well does this description fit our population at large?

The discussion with the expert panel explored just how healthy Central Texans really are and what that means in the long term to our region.

The panel included:
  • Paul Carrozza - Founder and CEO, RunTex
  • Dr. Stephen Pont - Medical Director, Texas Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Childhood Obesity, Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas
  • Ellen Richards - Director of Planning, Central Health
  • Leslie Sweet - Austin and Central Texas Public Affairs Director, H-E-B
As always, the Engage Breakfast engaged the audience with a variety of things to think about.  While we are a "Fit City" the region still faces statistics of over 60% of the people being over weight. This impacts many areas, including the long term healthcare costs.

The fastest growing segment of our population is those 45-64.  This means over then next 30 years the median age of Austin will rise, and this too has a major implications (as people tend to have more medical issues as they age).  Being fit helps people age better.

Companies are trying to address this issue as the insurance costs are getting out of hand.  But no changes can be made without igniting a passion for healthy living.  HEB has over 2000 employees participating in this year's Capitol 10,000.  It works well when companies can get their people to workout in groups, as it not only promotes health, but also builds bonds.

Paul Carroza mentioned that many people are turned off to the idea of exercise because of some poor experience with middle school PE class, but that movement is not about heavy workouts.  Instead consistency and commitment to physical activity can have an impact that continues beyond the exercise, and show itself in other healthy lifestyle choices.  Even one hour a week can help, as 52 workouts a year beats zero workouts.

Companies can guide their employees, but it is harder to impact the population as a whole. Everyone wants the best for their life and for the lives of their kids.  Education plays a big part as when we educate kids and keep them in school they are more likely to make better choices for their health in the long term.

Catch the next Engage Breakfast on April 3rd.  If you live in Austin and are not familiar with Leadership Austin.... it is one of the best organizations in town for information, education, networking and community impact.

Have A Great Day.

thom singer

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