Fighting fat

Health officials promoting fitness with nature walk

— Clayton County health and recreation officials will generate a little cross-promotion for their programs next weekend, when the county Board of Health hosts its first-ever Autumn Health Walk at the William H. Reynolds Memorial Nature Preserve.

The walk was created through a partnership between the Board of Health and the Clayton County Parks and Recreation Department, said Board of Health spokesman Joel Hall. He explained it is being held to observe Georgia SHAPE — or Student Health and Physical Education — month.

“We want to help educate people about healthier lifestyles so they can be more aware of their fitness levels,” said Hall. “Around the nation, there is a growing obesity problem, and that’s been acknowledged through First Lady Michelle Obama’s efforts to promote healthier lifestyles and Gov. Nathan Deal’s Georgia SHAPE program."

The health walk will take place Friday, from 5:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m., at the nature preserve, which is located at 5665 Reynolds Road, in Morrow. It will include free guided nature walks throughout the preserve.

Board of Health “goodie bags” will be given out to the first 30 people who show up for the walk, according a health department announcement. Fitness and nutrition information will also be distributed. A gardening class will also be offered before the walk, at 4:15 p.m.

People who participate in the health walk are also urged to bring a water bottle and a bug spray which contains DEET to ward off mosquito bites.

While the event is intended to focus mainly on health and fitness, Hall said officials also hope to promote the nature preserve so more people will take advantage of its trails for regular health walks.

“A lot of people still don’t know about Reynolds Nature Preserve,” said Hall. “It’s this huge pristine nature site and we want people to come out and learn about the preserve and all of the programs we have to offer. But, we also want people to learn more about becoming active and doing something with their kids. It’s important to change behaviors now so the next generation will have a healthier example to follow.”

People interested in learning more about the health walk should call Board of Health Community Wellness Manager Katrina Brantley at 678-610-7428, or e-mail her at katrinabrantley@dhr.state.ga.us.