The wheels of government turn slowly. In many cases that is a good thing because government bodies need to assure that policy making and budgeting have many moving parts and all interests and consequences need to be considered.

There are times when the wheels of government do not need to slow to a crawl, especially when it concerns free money.

The Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Cities Campaign, funded by Kaiser Permanente and other partners, is designed to play a role in reversing the trend toward sedentary behavior (think watching TV and playing video games for hours on end) and high calorie counts.

The project supports cities in efforts to improve the physical environment and give residents more opportunities to be physically active and eat healthful foods.  Keizer is a fairly healthy community already—there are the many youth athletic organizations, plus the sports programs in all the schools. We are home to a number of running events. Even with one grocery store, a majority of Keizer residents have access to healthy food with WinCo, Walmart and other large stores in Salem.

There is always room for improvement in the drive to be the healthiest community Keizer can be.

To that end the city council needs to stop nitpicking the HEAL Healthy Cities program, approve applying for the designation, move forward and apply for a grant.

We suggest the Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, the council and the Public Works department work on exercise kiosks erected around city parks. Exercise kiosks are informational signs that have illustrations of how to do specific exercises for runners, walkers, specific ages. They can also include information about heart rates, pulse numbers and general information. These types of kiosks are found in public spaces all around the nation.

It is not just signs; many cities incorporate equipment made from natural materials such as logs. The equipment is used for leg work, balancing, push-ups, any number of exercises a runner or walker may do.

Our former First Lady led the “Let’s Go!” fitness campaign. Let’s go, City of Keizer. Let’s take the free money (even if it must be matched, half of it is still free) and be as healthy as we dare to be. —LAZ