The City of Boise is deeply invested in making policy changes and resource allocations to help citizens live healthier lives. In recent years the city has increased efforts to make long-range policy changes and infrastructure improvements that will improve health, particularly vulnerable populations.
In 2005, Boise Mayor David Bieter accepted the National League of Cities’ “Mayors’ Action Challenge for Children and Families.” The premise is that strong cities are built on a foundation of strong families and empowered neighborhoods that support every child. Key outcomes of the challenge include increases in neighborhood park and playground development, sports and recreation programs, school lunch and breakfast outreach campaigns, collaborating with schools to educate youth about healthy food choices and expand access to nutritious foods, and community wide fitness and wellness campaigns.
A strategic plan created in 2008 reinforced the city’s commitment to health and wellness initiatives. In the development of the plan, the city conducted a citizen survey and conducted an exhaustive public process to determine priorities. To accomplish the vision of “Making the Boise the Most Livable City,” the strategic plan focuses on four main goals — the first of which is to “achieve a safe, healthy, livable community.”
This goal is tightly interwoven in the Boise Parks & Recreation’s 2011 Comprehensive Park and Recreation Plan. To help achieve community wellness goals, Let’s Move Boise was founded in 2010 as a subcommittee of the Mayor’s Council on Children and Youth.
A Collaborative Organization
Let’s Move Boise was launched in 2010 with the goal of combating childhood obesity by increasing access to healthy food and physical activity. The robust collaboration of far-reaching organizations is led by a steering committee with representatives of:
• Boise Parks & Recreation
• Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health
• Boise School District Food & Nutrition Services
• Central District Health Department
• Boise Urban Garden School
• Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children
• Girls on the Run
Let’s Move Boise focuses on five goals identified by Let’s Move Cities, Towns & Counties, a program of the National League of Cities.
Partners have come together to coordinate a variety of free or low-cost programs and activities that meet the objectives of the five goals outlined by Let’s Move Cities, Towns & Counties.
• A Grow a Row program to encourage families to plant gardens and share fresh produce with food pantries
• Free workshops to educate child care providers about the importance of healthy food, physical activities and reducing screen time
• Free of low-cost family events ($1 skate days at Idaho IceWorld, discount days at Zoo Boise, open gym days at local schools)
• Promotional campaigns to publicize the importance of eating breakfast and encourage children to participate in free breakfast and lunch programs at school
• Just Add Water school garden workshops for teachers, parents and administrators
• School lunch recipe contest
In 2013, Let’s Move Boise initiated Walk 150, a citywide program endorsed by Mayor Bieter to encourage kids and adults to walk 150 miles in conjunction with the city’s 150-year anniversary celebration. Partners include the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health, Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce and the Idaho Statesman, the city’s daily newspaper. A website – www.walk150.org – was created providing a resource for participants to track their miles.
LET’S MOVE BOISE ANNUAL REPORT
The Let’s Move Boise Annual Report recaps the programs and initiatives for fiscal year 2013.