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Asheville, North Carolina Provides a Model to Keep Employees Healthy and Moving

In Asheville, North Carolina, elected officials and community leadership have a history of supporting initiatives and efforts that are community-based. This made Asheville City Council's resolution to become a Let's Move! City in September, 2010 a natural fit and complement to Let’s Move! Cities and Towns.

Asheville's elected officials have encouraged healthy family lifestyles by supporting projects and initiatives such as the creation of local farmers’ markets and community gardens, multi-modal transportation options such as new sidewalks and the incorporation of bike lanes and pedestrian crossings into street development, improved community access to parks through enhanced public safety efforts, and physically active programming for all ages at the City of Asheville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts facilities.

The First Lady's vision has inspired many communities to take on the challenge of childhood obesity by incorporating the four Let's Move! pillars into fundamental facets of daily life.  Those efforts also take place within the walls of city facilities. Thirteen new energy efficient vending machines now offer balanced and healthy snack options to city staff, citizens accessing services, and children participating in afterschool, evening and weekend activities. These healthier alternatives are lower in sodium and fat with many options also containing a lower caloric content.

Not only does this initiative ensure that municipal facilities provide access to affordable and healthier snack and food choices, but the revenue the City of Asheville receives from these machines is dedicated to supporting the employee-driven health and wellness initiative, known as Asheville Balanced Choices (ABC's). The cross-departmental Employee Benefits Advisory Team chose to define four wellness goals for ABC's - tobacco cessation, education, improving nutrition, and physical activity. The employee perspective and input keeps the program moving forward and provides an excellent model for other city leaders and community organizations to follow and by encouraging everyone to MOVE!