VICKSBURG, Miss. — A Mississippi city is one of eight winners nationwide of an award for promoting healthier living.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is giving its Culture of Health Prize to Vicksburg, honoring local work on decreasing the rate of obesity and increasing physical activity, raising high school graduation rates and improving the learning environment, as well as revitalizing its downtown.

The $25,000 prize was announced this week, with Vicksburg chosen from among more than 200 communities nationwide that applied.

Linda Fondren, a community organizer and gym owner who founded Shape Up Mississippi, helps promote health with free physical fitness classes, nutrition classes and monthly walks in city parks. Among other challenges are addressing the high obesity rates in Mississippi.

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