Courtney Helped Improve Food, Fitness Culture

Anita-CourtneyOne day in 1969, as a 13-year-old in Louisville, Anita Courtney opened her school lunch and thought, “That’s enough!”

Enough baloney sandwiches, Fritos and Twinkies, especially after a breakfast of Tang and Pop-Tarts.

“It hit me like a lightning bolt,” Courtney said. “I should be eating healthier.”

And so she did. Soon, Anita was cooking the family’s meals, making squash casseroles the new normal.

Nearly 45 years later, Courtney has done as much as anybody in Central Kentucky to make healthy eating and physical activity the new normal at home, in school and the local swimming pool through the Tweens Nutrition and Fitness Coalition ( ) she founded in 2003.

The Coalition has produced the Drink Water First initiative; Better Bites, which makes healthy food choices available at public places, opened two Good Neighbor Stores, which offer fresh produce available in food desert neighborhoods, launched two Fresh Stop Markets, which serve as farmers markets for low income families.

The Coalition also sponsored the VERB Summer Scorecard, which encouraged physical activity for kids.

Plus, Courtney has advocated for school wellness policies that have helped numerous local schools embrace better nutrition and increased physical activity.

Now, after a career dedicated to better community health, Courtney has retired as the Coalition’s director. She was replaced July 1 by Jeremy Porter.

I have worked with Courtney through the years and know how much she will be missed but also how much she has accomplished.

The next time your child chooses water over soda, gets more recess at school or prefers grapes to candy, you can thank Anita Courtney for a job well done.

photo: Anita Courtney