Thank you for the recent article about the obesity epidemic published in the Deseret News. It’s essential that we have public discussions about this issue.

Our nation’s poor health will not be solved by simply focusing on weight. We need to promote healthy behaviors and lifestyles that can help prevent chronic diseases and promote well-being, regardless of a person’s size. This includes encouraging regular physical activity, consuming a balanced diet and promoting mental well-being.

But we cannot put the onus solely on individuals to become healthy. I’m the executive director of the nonprofit Get Healthy Utah, and our mission is to foster a culture of health in Utah through system-level change. We work with schools, workplaces and communities — each of which has a role to play in promoting health.

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We need state and local policies that ensure access to healthy foods and build safe and accessible environments for physical activity. We also need leaders to focus on the social determinants of health, such as poverty and inequality, which are key drivers of obesity and related health problems.

By focusing on healthy behaviors and promoting system-level change, we can create a culture of health that benefits everyone. It’s time for us to work together to make this a reality.

Alysia Ducuara

Executive director, Get Healthy Utah

Salt Lake City