On October 12, 2008, the first annual Second Sunday was held in 71 counties throughout the state. Because Kentucky is consistently ranked as one of the top 10 states for obesity and obesity-related diseases, Governor Beshear made a proclamation that every second Sunday in October in the state of Kentucky would be "Second Sunday." It is the hope that eventually all counties will be able to close a road on the second Sunday of each month to encourage its citizens to get outdoors and get active.
Second Sunday was created to promote physical activity in Kentucky and was spear headed by the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, whose mission is to bring research-based education to Kentucky citizens. Jointly with its other land grant partner, Kentucky State University, Extension addresses issues of importance to all Kentuckians, including healthy living and physical activity.
Diana Doggett, one of the event's organizers and an Extension agent in Fayette County, said the idea originated in Bogotá, Columbia, where more than 70 miles of city streets are closed to cars every Sunday, encouraging thousands of people to merge onto them for walking, biking, picnicking, and meeting with friends and neighbors. Here in the United States, this is the first state-wide initiative of this sort.
"Second Sunday is an event when an entire state can come together on a single day to encourage its citizens to collectively get outdoors to de-stress, get healthy and connect personally with their fellow citizens," Doggett said.
Every county was encouraged to tailor Second Sunday activities to their own strengths, community interests, and environment. For example, in Muhlenberg County people who walked the Rails to Trails path had the opportunity to win a Wii Fit.
Doggett is optimistic that next year's event will be even bigger, with more counties participating. "We're well over 50 percent participation this year, and it looks as if Second Sunday could be something special that will hopefully support and propel a movement toward our state's improved health, economy and environment," she said.
There is an open invitation to "Be there - Be Healthy!" at next year's Second Sunday. For more information, go to http://www.2ndsundayky.com/ or contact your local extension office.