Wedged into Tuesday's Antioch City Council consent calendar, somewhere between a computer gaming ordinance and a settlement for sewer repairs, was a resolution supporting healthy eating and living choices.

If you made it to the final "whereas" -- there were 13 before you got to the punch line -- the council's message boiled down to this: Eat your fruits and vegetables, get regular exercise, and live a longer life.

Sounds like something your mother might say.

What made the agenda item of interest is that it came in response to a statewide campaign, with three full-time staffers, that answers to the acronym of HEAL (Healthy Eating Active Living Cities). It has been "promoting physical activity and nutrition policies in California cities" since 2008.

That's right, a campaign to reduce our waistlines. That's how worried government officials are about how fat we've become.

The League of California Cities and the California Center for Public Health Advocacy partnered to start the movement. Before you start railing about wasted tax dollars, it's funded by Kaiser Permanente and the philanthropic San Francisco Foundation. If money's being wasted, it's theirs.

It's difficult to disparage such an altruistic goal, but it gives you pause to think Californians are stuffing themselves so full of fatty foods that they need a campaign to slap some sense into them.

When Antioch took the pledge, it became the 103rd city to hop aboard the weight train, joining fellow Contra Costa members Lafayette, Brentwood, El Cerrito and Martinez. (Apparently, the rest of the county is OK with being fat.)

The idea, said HEAL Director Charlotte Dixon, is for member cities to set policies that facilitate access to fresh produce, pedestrian walkways and bike trails, and to encourage businesses to offer employee wellness plans.

Whether this will produce the desired results is another question. Just because you fill a city with bookstores doesn't mean residents will start reading.

The resolutions passed by city councils are similar, citing concerns about chronic diseases related to obesity, the resulting medical costs and the growing numbers of youngsters who are busting out of their britches. The differences lie in the summations, which hint at a city's degree of commitment.

Antioch "supports and will consider local policies and programs that create comprehensive community wellness." Martinez recognizes "significant societal and environmental changes are needed to support individual efforts to make healthy choices."

Those seem ... um, a bit vague.

Sacramento, on the other hand, stipulates 15 plans and programs, from exercise facilities to recreation space, which is what you'd expect of a city filled with lawmakers.

How will the HEAL campaign measure success?

"That's a good question," Dixon said. "What we're looking at is more opportunities for walking and biking, more access to healthy food. Ultimately, we'd like to see the childhood obesity rate decline."

One suspects that fast-food consumption figures into this equation. Is HEAL trying to stamp out Big Macs? Is Krispy Kreme an enemy of the state? Can Pleasant Hill pretend to be a healthy-eating city now that it's invited In-N-Out-Burger's double-doubles inside the gates?

"That's something that each city should make its own decision about," Dixon said.

Yep, sooner or later, people make their own decisions about lifestyles. Those will have a lot more to say about who's fit and who's fat than a council resolution.

Contact Tom Barnidge at tbarnidge@bayareanewsgroup.

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