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City Of Durham Recognized As 'Fit Community'

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DURHAM, N.C. — Durham is known as the "Bull City" and the "City of Medicine." Now, it can also be called a "Fit Community."

Research shows people who live in sprawling communities are more likely to be overweight and suffer from hypertension. That's why the Fit Community award was created to recognize communities for their commitment to fitness.

A "Fit Community" award sign will welcome people to Durham, Chapel Hill and five other cities, towns and counties across the state.

Both Triangle communities earned the award earlier this month with aggressive planning to encourage walking, running and biking. Their schools are 100 percent smoke-free.

Durham's award also reflects on the county's efforts.

"(The) county health department has a lot of programs, nutrition programs, fitness and wellness programs -- both for employment sites as well as schools.," said Durham award coordinator Alison Carpenter.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina reports that 60 percent of its members are overweight or obese. Half of insurance spending is on preventable diseases and conditions.

That's why the insurer, in partnership with the State Health and Wellness Trust Fund, decided to create the award.

Durham Mayor Pro Tem Cora Cole-McFadden said it's long been a focus of the city.

"If you don't have good quality of life then you cannot enjoy a prosperous life," Cole-McFadden said.

"There's a lot of fitness opportunities around here," said Durham resident Mark Montgomery. "There's the (YMCA) down town, there's a lot of good places to eat and so, I think it is a fit community, or can be."

It can be if people take advantage of the healthy options available to them.


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