Texas is ranked the tenth most obese state in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 66 percent of adults are overweight, and 31 percent of adults are considered to be obese in the state of Texas.

Obesity has become a serious health problem not only in Texas but across the Nation, partially due to lack of exercise. Fewer than 50% of adults are getting the amount of physical activity they need to positively impact their health. Physically active adults’ live longer, healthier lives by reducing their risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, cancers, and even depression. Walking is an easy and effective form of exercise and can play an important role in a daily health regimen of diet and exercise. If every person walked for at least 30 minutes a day, there would be a substantial reduction in health care costs.

The City of Canton is a part of NET Health's Community Transformation Program, which aims to improve the health and wellness of local communities, through local action. The City of Canton in Van Zandt County is the home of First Monday Trade Days, an event which draws about 180,000 visitors to the city each month; the average person attending First Monday walks at least a mile and a half while browsing on the 350-acre grounds.

City leaders have also established a monthly mayor's walk at Cherry Creek Park where people of all ages are encouraged to take part in this healthful activity. The people of Canton have demonstrated initiative and foresight in taking the matter of public health into their own hands, which is why on May 17th 2013, the Texas House of Representatives passed a resolution naming the city of Canton the official Walking Capital of Texas. This bill was authored by Senator Bob Deuell and sponsored by Representative Dan Flynn (R-Van).

On Saturday, September 14, 2013 at 12:00pm on the steps of the Van Zandt County Courthouse in Canton, TX, the City of Canton will celebrate this designation with presentations from both Senator Deuell and Representative Flynn. The community is invited to attend this important program and take the first steps towards raising awareness not only for the healthy lifestyle of Northeast Texans but for the importance of healthy living and fighting obesity around the state.

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