Let's Move! Cities, Towns and Counties: San Antonio

Population: 1.41 million (2013)

What is Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties?

The National League of Cities (NLC) is working in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and with the support of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Association of Counties and other nonprofit organizations to assist local elected officials who join Let's Move! Cities, Towns and Counties (LMCTC) as they implement policy and environmental changes to prevent childhood obesity.

What is San Antonio doing?

To improve the health and wellness of San Antonio residents, city leaders recognized that a sustained community-wide effort that included city government, citizens, business, nonprofits, schools and health leaders was necessary. Former San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro created the Mayor’s Fitness Council (MFC) in May 2010 to spearhead the city’s LMCTC campaign. The mission of the Mayor’s Fitness Council is to lead San Antonio to be one of the healthiest and most active communities in the nation through the LMCTC program, and to be a place where residents, groups and organizations work collaboratively to achieve target health and fitness goals. 

The MFC was established as part of the nonprofit SA2020, whose vision is to ensure San Antonio’s residents are among the healthiest in the nation by the year 2020.  

What are the target goals?

The Mayor’s Fitness Council is taking action to:

  • Develop a Student Ambassador Program for youth to promote health and fitness in their schools and local communities.
  • Organize Healthy Schools Summits, where San Antonio’s school districts gather to discuss health and wellness policies in schools, share best practices and report on the progress of health initiatives.
  • Offer free group exercise classes in city parks to San Antonio residents through Fitness in the Park.
  • Train San Antonio residents to lead Neighborhood Walking Groups throughout the city.
  • Educate San Antonio residents about the benefits of fruits and vegetables through the Veg Out SA! campaign

Who are the partners?

The Mayor’s Fitness Council works in cooperation with the City of San Antonio. Depending on the specific initiative, the MFC also collaborates with various private organizations, local nonprofits and city agencies, such as the Departments of Health and Parks and Recreation.

Together, they are joining forces and resources to positively make an impact.

For example, the Veg Out SA! campaign, sponsored by BlueCross and BlueShield of Texas and the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio Foundation, will provide posters and other marketing materials available for free download on the Mayor’s Fitness Council website

Local grocery store chain H-E-B has also donated various prizes for the campaign, including a workplace cafeteria makeover, free fruits and vegetables for a year, and offers free healthy shopping tours with in store dieticians. 

How is the effort financed?

Components of the Mayor’s Fitness Council, such as the Veg Out SA! campaign, are sponsored by BlueCross and BlueShield of Texas and the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio Foundation. The MFC is funded by numerous local private initiatives and organizations.

What is the project’s timeline? 

The Mayor’s Fitness Council (MFC) formed in May 2010. In 2011, San Antonio became one of the top cities for the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative, with over 100 schools implementing salad bars. By 2014, the MFC had endorsed over thirty initiatives geared toward helping San Antonio transform into a healthier, more active community. 

Other details

The MFC Student Ambassador Program allows students the opportunity to represent the Mayor’s Fitness Council by promoting and encouraging healthy living at their campus and in their communities. Thirty-five student ambassadors in grades five through twelve were selected from 35 public and private schools in Bexar County, where San Antonio is located. There are 35 alumni ambassadors, and twelve Bexar County Independent School Districts and private schools are represented.

Resources 

Mayor’s Fitness Council

NLC Staff Contact

Elena Hoffnagle

Senior Associate

Institute for Youth, Education and Families

Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties

(202) 626-3012

Hoffnagle@nlc.org