Fontana, Ca– The Mayor and City Council were presented the Helen Putnam Award of Excellence for the City’s Health and Wellness Program, Fontana Walks! by the League of California Cities at the 2019 conference. This prestigious award was bestowed upon the City’s Fontana Walks! recognizing the program for its success in inspiring and engaging the community to better health through easy and free forms of physical activity.
In 2004, Mayor Acquanetta Warren helped launch the Healthy Fontana program to promote a healthy lifestyle with an emphasis on four core components: nutrition, active living, smart growth and community partnerships with a goal is to create greater awareness of health in our community and inspire people to make impactful changes to their lifestyle that help us all live longer and healthier lives. In an interview with AARP, Mayor Warren says, “It was my desire to bring a program that focuses on health because without a physically healthy community, we can’t be a healthy City. Healthy Fontana is now a robust program aimed at bringing the community together with a common goal of reducing the factors that negatively impact health.” Over the last 15 years, Healthy Fontana has reached more than 100,000 residents (50% of the City’s population) through multi-faceted programming. Despite successes, Fontana residents still face higher rates of obesity than the State average (28.5% compared to 25% statewide). Recognizing the significant need to inspire residents to engage in free and easy forms of physical activity, the City created Fontana Walks! Program.
In August 2017, Fontana Walks! was launched as a community challenge designed to encourage and motivate residents to walk 2 billion steps (or 1 million miles) in 365 days. This citywide effort was geared towards residents of all ages and focused on adding physical activity to daily routines. Community Services Department Coordinator, Jasmine Sarsadias, exclaims “It’s amazing to see the community come together for this common cause: improving health! I’m so proud of the community and the initiative they took toward improving the quality of life for themselves and their families.” Fontana Walks! initially challenged Fontana residents to a community wide goal of walking 2 billion steps and to date the program has officially reached 7 billion steps in just a little over two years.
The most telling sign of success is the continued enthusiasm by residents beyond the one-year milestone. One participant notes her reasoning for continued participation, “I’m a diabetic and this [program] really gets me out to do my exercise and I just love it.” City of Fontana Parks, Community & Human Services Commissioner, Felix Jones, adds “Fontana Walks! is so important to the community for improving the quality of life. We want to be a healthy community where people are living healthy and much longer. And, because it’s about community.”
The Mayor and City Council would like to encourage residents to discover more about this award-winning program by attending the upcoming events. For more information regarding the Fontana Walks! Program, please call (909) 350-6542 or visit Healthy.Fontana.org.
Step by step, Fontana Walks! is improving Fontana residents quality of life.