LIMA — For the first time in American history, there will be a generation with a shorter life expectancy than their parents. Better diets and more exercise aren't enough to combat the issue, an expert told community leaders Monday.Mark Fenton, a transportation, planning and public health consultant, said everything from zoning codes to road layout and design need to be addressed to help raise a healthier generation. Fenton's comments came to members of the Lima Rotary Club as part of a series of events associated with Activate Allen County, Pioneering Healthier Communities, an effort to address those issues locally.“The kind of change we're talking about to raise a healthier generation is so much more than just telling people to eat well and exercise. We really need to build our community with an eye toward healthy behavior,” Fenton said. “It's everything from where and what kind of foods we sell and what kind of food we grow to how we get from place to place on a daily basis. Not just exercise, where we walk, where we bike how we use our transit system. You're going to need your policymakers to be in that conversation.”National health guidelines call for 30 minutes of daily physical activity as best for maintaining health. Fenton said fewer than 20 percent of adults actually meet the guideline. Fenton also said more than 365,000 deaths every year in America are a result of physical inactivity and poor health.Fenton said arguments about how to pay for health care in the country and the various efforts to support healthy lifestyles thus far have been like trying to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic and hope that stops the ship from hitting the iceberg.“We have been tinkering around the edges on this topic. We've been out doing nice encouragement programs, giving out pedometers, great media campaigns, but it's completely insufficient. Nobody's tackling the bigger, deeper issues of let's look out for the icebergs. Let's put out an early warning system. In this case, we've already got it. Our early warning system says this generation of kids is going to have such high rates of Type II diabetes we're going to be losing them early. That's harrowing.”Jerry Courtney, president of the Lima Family YMCA, said Activate Allen County is a program designed to address all the facets of creating a healthier generation locally.“When you look at the fact we're 83rd out of 88 counties with health behaviors, if we want to have a community that will thrive economically we need to look at the health of those living here,” Courtney said. “There are things we really can do. It's not an overwhelming problem. We have to do our work differently.”
Tara Cutlip, 21 and pregnant with her second child, was shot and killed Saturday in her Bahama Drive home. Loved ones gather in front of Tara's home to remember her and speak out against domestic violence.