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Governor Mike Huckabee: Arkansas

Republican Governor of Arkansas

Mike HuckabeeFor Governor Mike Huckabee, active living is personal.

“I learned firsthand the dangers of unhealthy living,” says Governor Huckabee, who was diagnosed with type II diabetes in 2003. “My doctor told me I was living the last decade of my life if I didn't make some important health changes.”

Huckabee’s dramatic weight loss (110 pounds) after resolving to run regularly and eat better has received widespread media coverage, and inspired legions of Americans to follow in his footsteps. He also hopes it will inspire elected officials to make it easier for people to be physically active in their daily lives by designing healthier communities.

“People need to be aware of the fiscal and physical costs associated with obesity,” says Huckabee, who is training for his fourth marathon. “It is more cost efficient to focus on health as opposed to healthcare.”

In 2003 Huckabee launched the Healthy Arkansas campaign, which promotes healthy eating, physical activity and smoking cessation. At his urging, the Arkansas legislature acted in 2003 to pass a comprehensive measure to fight childhood obesity in public schools and local communities, taking aggressive action before many other states had begun to address the problem. This year, he celebrated the opening of the nation’s second-longest pedestrian-bicycle bridge in Little Rock, an extension of the Arkansas River trail that spans the dam over the Arkansas River and connects 14 miles of trails on both sides.

“[The bridge] will open the door for many walkers, runners and bikers to get out and be active,” says Huckabee of the 4,300-foot long trail.

Huckabee is chairman of the National Governors Association and co-chair of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a joint project of the William J. Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association funded by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Alliance, formed last year to fight childhood obesity and encourage youngsters to develop healthy habits, recently brokered a deal with leading food manufactures to provide schools with healthier food and snack choices.

“Over the past few years, we've seen the political will come together and make a commitment to healthy lifestyles,” says Huckabee. “It’s important for community leaders to create an atmosphere for healthy living.”

Mike Huckabee
Gov. Huckabee competes in the Little Rock Marathon

Learn more:

Alliance for a Healthier Generation

Healthy Arkansas

The Slenderized Governor, With Advice to Share,” The New York Times

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