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The San Patricio County Department of Public Health is helping Mathis residents get better health through various active living activities.

A new health and fitness program has been launched in Mathis as part of the Texas Physical Activity and Nutrition (TXPAN) project through the San Patricio County Department of Public Health (SPCDPH) Community-Based Program (CBP). 

The program, aptly named the Mathis Active Living Coalition, consists of public leaders and organizers and community residents alike, with a focus on developing an “Active Living Plan” and helping to organize events that promote physical activities and health within the city of Mathis. 

“This is part of the Active Living strategy that we propose to the Department of State Health Services for the Texas pan contract,” said SPCDPH CBP Manager Virginia Lopez. “It is CDC funding that is awarded through the state of Texas through the Department of State Health Services –  and we’ve had this funding since 2019.”

Lopez and TXPAN Community Health Liaison Nicole Alonzo applied for and were awarded technical assistance from Plan4Health, an organization bridges the gap between public health and the American Planning Association (APA)-Texas Chapter – in an initiative and vision of “full integration of planning and public health where we live, learn, work and play.”

The assistance will now be utilized within the new Mathis Active Living Coalition, helping with “short-term projects to conduct community assessments, recommend improvements for pedestrian and bicyclist safety, work on a comprehensive physical activity plan for the city of Mathis and help coordinate community events that encourage physical activity.”

“We hope that it will encourage individuals from the city of Mathis to increase their use of sidewalks, walking trails, parks and other physical activity resources in the city to increase physical activity and improve their health,” Lopez added.    

According to the SPCDPH CBP, the coalition conducted a “walkability assessment” of the Mathis school campuses and city parks this past summer, and partnered with the Mathis Freedom Fest in July for a Health Fair. 

Lopez and Alonzo have  also been invited by Plan4Health to be recognized for their efforts at the APA Cross-Collaborative 2021 in Fort Worth on Nov. 1-3. 

Looking to the future, the coalition plans to host virtual meetings on the third Thursday of every month at 3 p.m. on Zoom, and have expanded to lend a hand to public health events in other San Pat cities, including upcoming events in Portland. 

For information on joining the Mathis Active Living Coalition, contact Nicole Alonzo at 361-587-3538. 

•jwillden@mysoutex.com•

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