ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Obesity in America has long been a topic of concern. In Taylor County, the most recent data has disclosed an obesity rate of 35%, which, in comparison, is more than the national average of 32%.

The Abilene City Council is looking at options, like the Active Living Plan presented by the Abilene Public Health District, to tackle the issue. The Active Living Plan for Abilene would provide city residents with more varieties and methods to live a healthier lifestyle, starting with businesses that can have a lot of influence on their employees.

Director of Public Health Annette Lerma told KTAB/KRBC, “We’re asking employers, what can you do in your business to encourage employees to be active? Is it to put up signs to encourage people to take the stairs? What are those things we can do to encourage our employees to be more active?”

Other ideas suggested are to encourage employees to challenges, like taking the most steps at work by parking further away or having brief walks with co-workers, like Kelley Messer. She has worked at City Hall for 16 years as the first assistant attorney for the city of Abilene and makes healthy habits during her workday a priority.

“I will use my standing desk and take little breaks and walk the halls while I’m at work, but it [the Active Living Plan] might encourage people to be more active outside of work as well,” said Messer.

Businesses can also encourage employee engagement in different events, like bike rides, races and community health fairs.

The Active Living Plan will be presented to the city council for adoption on August 24.