Message from the President
Katrina Betancourt, ArCOP President, MS, AGM, CPM
On behalf of the Arkansas Coalition for Obesity Prevention (ArCOP) family, I am pleased to introduce you to the only statewide obesity coalition working at the grass-roots level to increase access to healthy affordable foods and increase physical activity throughout communities in Arkansas. As of 2015, Arkansas was recognized as the most obese state in the nation. We have a real epidemic and ArCOP has a dedicated and determined team to make a positive change in the lives of all Arkansans.
I have personal challenges maintaining a healthy weight and strive to live an active and healthy lifestyle as a vegetarian and active parent of two teenage boys. We take advantage of the beautiful state park hiking and walking trails, a local community center, a home garden and local farmers markets. My mother was an amazing lady but unfortunately passed away from complications of obesity. I truly understand the struggles as an individual and as part of a community. It is hard living in a culture where gatherings are celebrated by food, workplaces have unhealthy vending machines and sedentary positions, families have limited indoor/outdoor space to engage in physical activity, there are unsafe roads without sidewalks or bike lanes and in some cases the closest place to purchase food is at a gas station.
Our coalition, with many of our partners, is determined to change the culture of Arkansas through system, environment and policy changes. We provide resources so that a child is able to grow, pick and eat vegetables out of their school garden; an employee has healthy food vending options and is provided breaks for physical activity; families can walk or roll safely down a street; businesses and local government experience a positive economic impact on their community just to name a few. ArCOP strives to make our signature Growing Healthy Communities a healthy place to live, work, play, learn and worship. We welcome all communities in Arkansas to join us in our efforts to make our beautiful state a healthy state.