“Walk and Talk with the Mayor” for healthier living in Malden

Mayor encourages everyone to join him for fresh air and exercise

Walkers shown from left to right are Allen Delva, Yan Yu, Michael Julce, Christian Manning, Robert DeSantis, Zach Anzalone, Daniel Glynn, Mayor Gary Christenson, Christina Murphy, Melissa Smith, Laureen Scibinico, Jamie Doherty, Simon Rogers, and Joshua Kummins walked on the streets of Malden as part of the “Malden is Moving” initiative. (Advocate photo / Anna Tse)

At noon on a warm July 31st, a group of local residents gathered in front of City Hall to join with Mayor Gary Christenson for a thirty-minute exercise walk through Malden.

“It is a great way of bringing the community together. The mayor came out in sweatpants and a T-shirt and walked around the city with us,” said Robert DeSantis, one of the participants in the walk. He added, “Childhood obesity is a great problem in America, so this kind of activity is a great way to combat it locally.”

The “Walk and Talk with the Mayor” initiative is part of a five year, $300,000 Community Transformation Grant from the Department of Public Health. Its aim is to promote healthy eating and living. This grant will help the city to become a Mass in Motion Community (MIM), a program that promotes a cost-effective wellness lifestyle by encouraging better eating and exercise habits at home, at work, and throughout the community.

“This campaign is a great initiative for the city and me personally. The ‘Walking and Talking’ part of the campaign provides residents with a chance to talk with me about the issues of the day while getting exercise…” said Mayor Christenson.

The program partners with the YWCA and also works with Malden restaurants to offer more healthy dining choices. A website, which is currently in development, will list criteria for how restaurants can qualify as healthy dining establishments.

“By living healthier, you can cut down your insurance expenses and medical expenses—by being active and making changes to your eating and living habits,” said Carol Ann Desiderio, executive assistant to the mayor. She went on to say, “Later on, we are going to do ‘Leave Your Car at Home a Day’ and other similar events. What we are trying to do is highlight healthy eating in the city and promote the walkability of Malden so residents will know they city is a safe place to walk.”

Most importantly, Mayor Christenson noted, “This initiative serves as a reminder of the importance of living a healthy lifestyle.”

Amy Foley, a volunteer at city hall, said she is interested in getting involved: “I think this kind of program will bring people together and encourage them to get healthy and get on the right track.”

The next “Walk and Talk with the Mayor” will start at the front of Malden City Hall on Tuesday, August 14 at noon. Mayor Christenson encourages everyone to join him, noting, “I love getting outside during the day to interact with residents, and I can’t think of a better way to enjoy the City.”

For more information about the “Malden is Moving!” initiative, the Malden version of the Mass in Motion program, please visit www.maldenismoving.org.