York City is one of three cities to receive a $25,000 grant from Weight Watchers International and the United States Conference of Mayors aimed at helping communities curb obesity.

The goal of the Healthy Communities Grant program is "to recognize and broaden innovative solutions to the obesity epidemic by galvanizing governments, businesses and community members to work together to foster healthier living environments," according to a news release.

"It's a big deal," said Edquina Washington, York City's director of community relations.

The other cities to receive the grant are Baltimore and Racine, Wis.

York will also receive a portion of Weight Watchers memberships worth $1 million split among the three cities.

But, exactly how York will spend its grant money remains unclear.

At the very least, Mayor Kim Bracey said she's hoping Weight Watchers will be able to establish a presence in York City to serve residents.

"There will be opportunities to become members and take advantage of an organization that is sanctioned and known to assist people with healthy lifestyles," Bracey said. "I'm really excited about that."

Ideas: More details will be announced at a press conference in July.

Bracey said she'll spend the next few weeks collaborating with Weight Watchers to hash out those details. Perhaps there's a way to assist school-age children in particular, she said.


"I'm already thinking of ideas," Bracey said. "It's going to be used in a great way to help city residents. We're going to make it fun."

Bracey and Washington said it's too early to estimate how many people might receive the Weight Watchers memberships or who would be eligible. Those details will also be announced at the press conference.

"The opportunities are endless," Bracey said.

The numbers: More than a third of adults in York are obese, and another third are overweight, according to the news release.

York was selected, according to the news release, "for its commitment to healthy living" through programs like Let's Move York City and Eat, Play, Breathe York.

Bracey launched Let's Move York City last year. The program, which is inspired by Michelle Obama's Let's Move initiative, includes a weight-loss tracking page on the city's website, www.yorkcity.org.

Eat Play Breathe York is an initiative of the YMCA of York County that's been vocal in promoting bicycle-friendliness.

-- Erin James may also be reached at ejames@yorkdispatch.com.