August 28, 2009

President Lee T. Todd Jr. speaks about Second Sunday while Dr. Richard Lofgren, Dean Scott Smith and Lexington Mayor Jim Newberry look on.
President Lee T. Todd Jr. speaks about Second Sunday while Dr. Richard Lofgren, Dean Scott Smith and Lexington Mayor Jim Newberry look on.
University of Kentucky and local government officials announced today that this year's Second Sunday event will take place on Oct. 11, the second Sunday of the month.  This event offers Kentuckians the opportunity to take advantage of a statewide day for physical activity and make a commitment to healthy lifestyle changes.

Second Sunday is an event coordinated by the UK Cooperative Extension Service through a partnership with UK HealthCare, local governments and other community partners. It encourages Kentuckians of all ages to participate in all forms of physical activity in the comfort of their local environment. As Second Sunday coordinators, UK Cooperative Extension family and consumer sciences agents worked with community partners to petition their local government officials to close a section of a road in the county to traffic for four hours and open it up for different varieties of physical activity including running, walking, skateboarding and rollerblading. 

"The Cooperative Extension Service is ideally positioned to facilitate a project like Second Sunday, that requires grassroots organization at the county level combined with statewide coordination," said UK Dean of the College of Agriculture Scott Smith.  "I am delighted that we are a key leader of this partnership that is so visibly promoting health and wellness for the Commonwealth."

For many years, Kentucky has had one of the highest obesity rates in the country. 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 at 29 percent and the fourth-highest percentage of overweight youth at 37.1 percent. Obesity has been linked to chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

"As a physician, I have seen the plight of these diseases first-hand," said Dr. Richard P. Lofgren, Vice President for Healthcare Operations and Chief Clinical Officer for UK HealthCare who also serves as the 2nd Sunday co-chair.  "What we all need to understand is that these are diseases preventable through healthy lifestyle choices."

 Second Sunday is a prime opportunity for Kentuckians to display their resolve in remedying these statistics and in turn improving the health of all in the state. State organizers hope this is a start for community members to recognize their available resources for physical activity and make efforts to promote these resources to their neighbors, friends and family.

This is the second year for this statewide event, and more than 12,000 people in 70 counties participated in 2008. This year's attendance is expected to be even greater, as nearly 100 counties are planning to participate.