September 29, 2010

If past years are any indication, thousands of Kentuckians will join together to demonstrate they are serious about improving their health and well-being at various 2nd Sunday activities taking place across the state. On Oct. 10, rural and urban families are invited to walk, run, hike, bike, canoe or dance on "borrowed infrastructure" such as a roadway, waterway, trail or park. 

2nd Sunday began in 2008 as a statewide day of physical activity for Kentuckians of all ages. The event encourages citizens to get moving within the comforts of their communities. From walking to inline skating to canoeing, 2nd Sunday activities are numerous.

2nd Sunday is an event coordinated by family and consumer sciences agents with the UK Cooperative Extension Service through a partnership with UK HealthCare, local governments and other community partners.

The agents and community partners petitioned their local government officials to close a section of a road in their counties to traffic for four hours on the second Sunday of October to allow residents to engage in all forms of physical activity in a safe, family-friendly environment.

According to a new report by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Kentucky has the seventh-highest obesity rate in the nation with 30.5 percent of the population listed as obese and the third-highest percentage of overweight children at 21 percent. Obesity has been linked to chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. Through 2nd Sunday, Kentuckians have a prime opportunity to show their concern about the problem.

During the first 2nd Sunday, more than 12,000 people from more than 70 counties participated. The event grew in 2009 to include 101 counties. This year, the number of counties participating has climbed to 115.

Continued success of the 2nd Sunday initiative on Oct. 10 as well as throughout the year underscores the need for permanent facilities for citizens who want to be active. Until then, Kentuckians will creatively borrow local infrastructure to provide healthy lifestyle options, said Diana Doggett, state coordinator for 2nd Sunday and Fayette County family and consumer sciences extension agent.

Activities vary among counties depending on available area resources. For more information on a particular county's plans, contact the county's office of the UK Cooperative Extension Service or visit the 2nd Sunday website http://www.2ndsundayky.com.