A Healthy Community within Everyone’s Reach- Edinburg, TX

More from Edinburg TX

Project at a Glance

  • Issue Area Community vision and values, Health equity
  • Engagement Approaches Neighborhood events/ activities, Partnering with residents, Youth Engagement
Project Description

This content is available to members only. Members, please log in below to view! Not a member? Join us now to unlock this and other exceptional content.

A Healthy Community within Everyone’s Reach 

A 2018 Wallethub.com study ranked Edinburg’s metro area as the overall third Fattest City in America, behind Little Rock, Arkansas and Shreveport, Louisiana. Additionally, The University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston found Edinburg’s top community health concerns to be diabetes, obesity and behavioral health. Due to these findings, Edinburg is undertaking city-wide wellness projects to ensure all residents, especially the most vulnerable, have barrier-free access to opportunities for improved health.


  • Combat poor health statistics by developing community events that promote fitness.

Project Summary:
To combat high obesity rates, the City of Edinburg’s Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) collaborated with resident and competitive runner, David Chavana, to create the All-America City David Chavana 10K and Fun Run. The event has become a tradition for locals, and a destination for worldwide runners. The city keeps entry fees low, and hundreds of volunteers from the community assist with the race.

The city also invited the Capable Kids Foundation (CKF) to join the 10K. CKF is an organization that provides social and recreational events for children of all ages with disabilities and their families. Now, participants with special needs take the track for the “Miracle Mile” before the race.

The city also invited CKF soccer athletes to play adaptive sports at the Edinburg Health and Wellness Center at no charge, after learning that CFK was struggling to find an adaptive sports venue. Additionally, the Capable Kids Park Committee is now working to build Edinburg’s first ultra-accessible/inclusive park.

Additional health initiatives include:

  • PARD Nutrition and Athletic Programs– Youth participate in league sports and are served healthy foods.
  • Recreation Programs– Residents participate in karate, water aerobics, Zumba and more.
  • Parks and Trails– The city has 18 parks and is connecting its trails to neighboring cities.
  • Low-Cost Clinics– UT Health Rio Grande Valley has established eight low-cost specialty clinics, so families will not have to travel for treatment.
  • School-Based Health Center- DHR Edinburg CISD School-Based Health Center provides students, teachers, and their families with access to primary health services. 

Engagement Strategies:

  • PARD engaged residents in the decision-making and action planning of the race.
  • The race is volunteer led, with 250 volunteer workers and encouragement volunteers assisting along the route and finish line and another 120 volunteers staffing water stations.
  • Businesses and non-profits have been included in the planning process and have collaborated to expand the race and make it more inclusive.
  • Local businesses support the race by donating items and money to keep registration fees low.


  • Race participation has increased 681%, from 1,098 in 1999 to 8,576 in 2019.
  • Elite runners come from as far away as Kenya, Brazil and Russia to participate.
  • 29,000 meals were served last year as part of PARD’s Nutrition Program
  • Over 9,030 children and adults are in PARD athletic programs, including leagues for football, basketball, softball, tennis, swimming, track and volleyball.
  • 4,000 people participate in recreation programs including karate, boxing, cheer, tumbling, ballet, folkloric dancing, water aerobics and Zumba.
  • The city now has 18 parks, many with walking trails, providing greenspace for outdoor activities, free of charge.
  • Edinburg is connecting its hike-and-bike trails to nearby cities to create a larger network with neighboring cities to improve the region’s health.
  • The Hidalgo County Health Department’s HidalGo Fit Coalition recently named Edinburg as the city that offers the most exercise and health programs in Hidalgo County.

Additional Resources:
Edinburg, TX- 2019 AAC Finalist: Presentation

Local Contact:
Javier Garza
Director of Parks and Recreation
City of Edinburg, TX
(956) 381-5631
[email protected]

Explore More Innovations From Communities Across the Country and Down the Road

See All Projects
View All

Thank You to Our Key Partners