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Eau Claire proposes "Obesity Map" that targets overweight people with park, activity planning


EAU CLAIRE, WI (WTAQ) - Officials in Eau Claire have figured out a possible step forward in the battle against obesity.

WQOW-TV says the city’s Comprehensive Plan includes the idea of creating a map that identifies where the most obese-and-overweight residents live.

That way, Eau Claire officials can identify areas where new parks, walking trails, and community gardens can do the most good.

The so-called “Obesity Map” is one of several proposals designed to make residents healthier.

The TV station says residents have mixed reactions.

Some say it will encourage more folks to take advantage of some great outdoor recreation opportunities. Others believe it could violate people’s privacy.

Federal laws prohibit the disclosure of certain health information.

Associate city planner Ned Noel says insurance companies may have body mass index numbers on file – and they can be released by neighborhoods without identifying the exact individuals.

Noel says the city would like to work health and school officials on the proposed map.

The city plan commission will hold a public hearing this summer before a final vote on the idea.