GUTHRIE — Courtney Thompson didn't know when she moved to Guthrie two years ago that she would find a community hyper-focused on its residents' well being.
As the nutrition and fitness coordinator at the Logan County Health Department, Thompson has seen Guthrie thrive, with its leaders continuing to implement changes that promote a healthy lifestyle among its residents.
For example, the Guthrie Community Garden has only been in existence for a few growing seasons, but it's already producing pounds and pounds of produce each week — half of which it donates to a local food bank.
The community garden is one example of the efforts that Guthrie officials are making to improve residents' health, and thus improve the community's quality of life.
“(The garden) was an easy sale from the city point — nobody told us no through any of it,” Thompson said. “The city loved the idea of it, so they were a major supporter of why it happened.”
Oklahoma, as a state, has long struggled with health problems among its residents, with high rates of diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
Guthrie officials are optimistic that they can help turn some of those statistics in their community around.
Research shows that a person's environment can play a role in physical activity.
A study recently published in the CDC's Preventing Chronic Disease journal looked at Mueller, a community 3 miles from downtown Austin, Texas, that has 140 acres of parks and 13 miles of hiking and biking paths and lanes.
The researchers' data suggests that moving to an activity friendly neighborhood can positively affect physical activity levels, particularly among residents who had previously been least active.
For example, when people moved to Mueller, the researchers noticed substantial increases in recreational walking inside the neighborhood.
In recent years, Guthrie leaders have installed more sidewalks and are working to implement more bike lanes.
Thanks to a grant from the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, the city will soon install bike racks around town.
Rene Spineto is among those leading the charge for the city to add sidewalks, bike lanes and other means to be active.
Spineto said Guthrie's city council passed a resolution to use a “Complete Streets” model for its existing and new streets.
(The garden) was an easy sale from the city point — nobody told us no through any of it. The city loved the idea of it, so they were a major supporter of why it happened.”
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