Tupelo initiatives get national attention

By Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Tupelo’s efforts to build a healthier community will put it in the national spotlight Wednesday.
Mayor Jack Reed will be among a small group of mayors joining First Lady Michelle Obama in Philadelphia to celebrate programs combating childhood obesity.
“Everybody’s pitched in to get us here,” said Reed, recognizing the efforts of the Healthy Tupelo Task Force, Tupelo Parks and Recreation and the broader community over the past several years. “It’s a real honor for Tupelo.”
Tupelo won BlueCross BlueShield Foundation’s Healthy Hometown Award two weeks ago, but White House organizers told Reed it’s the community’s long track record of working to create a healthier environment that caught their attention.
Reed made the announcement on the same day the city’s Health on a Shelf program was officially expanded to its seventh and eight locations, BP stations on South and North Gloster streets.
“There’s lots of healthy snacks in convenience stores, but they’re not concentrated in one place,” said Mary Davidson, a registered nurse and member of the Healthy Tupelo Task Force, which developed the program that brings together snacks and drinks that have less than 250 calories and 5 grams of fat in one place so they are easier to find. “People want to eat healthier.”
The program makes good sense for the community and for his business, said Dev Singh, who owns the South Gloster BP with his wife, Rajwant Kayr. The North Gloster BP, located at the corner of Jackson Street, is owned by family members Nick and Sukhjit Kayr.
“If you can have healthy food, you can make money, too,” Singh said.
Health on a Shelf is also offered at Dodge’s, Papa V’s, NMMC Wellness Center and Tupelo Parks and Recreation concession stands. The city recently trademarked Health on a Shelf, and other cities are asking about replicating the program.