HOUSTON -

Houston Mayor Annise Parker announced the launch of Healthy Houston on Wednesday, an initiative designed to reduce obesity and increase healthy eating and exercise.

"We know obesity is a significant health threat in our city," said Parker. "We want to tackle this issue with innovative ideas and thinking to help Houstonians make smart decisions to lead healthy lifestyles, prevent problems before they occur, lower health care costs and increase productivity and quality of life."

The Healthy Houston initiative will promote programs, policies and actions designed to reduce deserts, promote locally-grown foods and promote recreational opportunities.

Parker has created a Healthy Houston Task Force to lead the initiative. Some of the task force's duties will include:

  • encouraging urban agriculture in community, school, backyard and rooftop gardens
  • improving access to healthy, affordable and locally produced food for all neighborhoods
  • supporting health education
  • enabling programs that increase physical activity and exercise in schools, at work, and in communities

Twenty-two members will serve on the Healthy Houston Task Force.