Plan Commission recommendation: remove BMI Mapping from health - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Plan Commission recommendation: Remove BMI Mapping from health chapter


Eau Claire (WQOW) - A comprehensive plan to make Eau Claire a healthier place to live is given a vote of support Monday night, except for one key proposal. 

The Eau Claire Plan Commission wants the body mass indexing map idea taken out.

Monday night, the health chapter of the city's comprehensive plan went before the plan commission.  Body mass indexing was originally called obesity mapping.  The idea is to compile anonymous BMI samples to show where in the community people tend to be more overweight or obese.  That could lead to deeper questions about whether there are barriers prohibiting people from being more active or having enough healthy food options.  The proposal was the focus of a lengthy discussion at tonight's meeting, with members of the public also speaking up.

"And I think this one little piece has become a lightning rod that is going to hinder the implementation of the whole plan and the acceptance of the whole plan by the community," said Eau Claire Plan Commission member Kathy Mitchell.

"This part of the health plan is really a collection of data, and I don't know why that should be a hot button issue, and I think the data is important for us to make prudent decisions about physical planning," said Brian Larson, another member of the Eau Claire Plan Commission.

"How many people are overweight in our community? We don't know. There's very little BMI tracking, except for preschoolers currently," said Eau Claire resident Nancy Coffey.

"I understand the fear that we don't want Eau Claire to be labeled as an obese city, you know it could have some repercussions, but if it's a problem, we want to know it is," said Plan Commission member Terry Weld.

The plan commission voted four to three to recommend that BMI mapping be taken out of the health chapter the city council will have the final say.  The plan commission then voted six to one to send the rest of the health chapter to the council. The plan will most likely be taken up by the council in three weeks.

There's a lot to the health chapter, from access to fresh food to a section on safety and crime.  You can read the entire document here.


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