|[December 05, 2013]
Colorado's Municipal Leaders and Planners Gather to Strategize on Providing Access to Healthy Food and Recreation
DENVER --(Business Wire)--
More than 100 elected officials, city planners and health officials from
across the state participated in the recent LiveWell Colorado HEAL
Cities & Towns Campaign summit in Westminster, Colo., to discuss
the role of municipalities in improving access to healthy foods,
enabling active lifestyles and encouraging workplace wellness.
Seventeen cities and towns across Colorado are currently participating
in the HEAL Cities & Towns Campaign of Colorado, a partnership effort of LiveWell
Colorado and the Colorado
Municipal League. As part of the program, LiveWell Colorado provides
free training, support and technical policy assistance to community
leaders as they work toward implementing healthy eating and active
living policies - known as "HEAL"
"Over the past several decades, a focus on convenience has resulted in
substantial barriers that city leaders must now overcome in order to
provide healthy, active opportunities to their citizens," said Julie
George, director of the HEAL Cities & Towns Campaign for LiveWell
Colorado. "Seeing the collaboration among the different municipal
leaders was truly inspiring, and I have no doubt that these communities
will benefit from the lessons we all learned during this event."
Guest speakers from outside Colorado also shared their experiences in
promoting HEAL policies in their own cities and states. Chip Johnson,
mayor of Hernando, Miss., ran for election based on a parks and
recreation platform in a city that had no parks department. He shared
his experience and the lessons he learned in focusing on building a
healthy community. The city of Hernando is now recognized s the
"Healthiest Hometown" by the Blue Cross & Blue Shield Foundation of
Mississippi, and has seen significant growth as a result.
Charlotte Dickson, M.S.W., director of the National HEAL Cities Campaign
also spoke about the results achieved in the current campaign in her
home state of California. She pointed out that, of the five states
participating in the HEAL National Campaign, Colorado's participation
has grown the most quickly.
Additional topics of discussion included:
Building environments to promote active lifestyles: Walking
communities and mixed-use buildings encourage active commuting, more
repeat business and spending, and generate significantly more tax
revenue than single-use buildings; open space preservation that costs
less to maintain and has the same impact on real estate values as a golf
Expanding access to healthy food: Focus on bringing healthy
grocery options to low-income areas; review zoning and land-use codes to
allow for more local farming and community gardens; host farmers markets
to provide access to healthy, local food.
Promoting worksite wellness: Create municipality programs so city
officials lead by example; remove unhealthy snacks and beverages as a
quick, low-cost way to make a difference.
"Personal health is a personal choice, but as city leaders, we must
strive to provide an environment that gives people the option and
opportunity to focus on health," said Sam Mamet, executive director,
Colorado Municipal League. "Our Colorado cities and towns have made
significant progress in prioritizing HEAL policies and we look forward
to even more cities and towns joining this movement."
The summit was co-hosted by LiveWell Colorado and Leadership
for Healthy Communities, and was sponsored by the Colorado
Health Foundation, the Colorado
Department of Public Health and Environment, and Kaiser
About the HEAL Cities & Towns Campaign of Colorado
The HEAL (Healthy Eating and Active Living) Cities & Towns Campaign of
Colorado is designed to foster local government policies that improve
access to healthy foods and physical activity in communities throughout
Colorado. The campaign is a partnership between LiveWell
Colorado, a nonprofit organization committed to preventing and reducing
obesity in Colorado by promoting healthy eating and active living, and
the Colorado Municipal League, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization
that has served and represented Colorado's cities and towns since 1923.
The goal for the HEAL Cities & Towns Campaign of Colorado is to help
build healthier communities and support local leaders in their
commitment to address both a city's physical and fiscal health.
Participation is free, thanks to the Colorado Department of Public
Health and Environment's Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease and Pulmonary
Disease Grant Program and the support of Kaiser Permanente. Colorado's
initiative is modeled after the HEAL Cities Campaign created in
California and is part of the HEAL Nation network.
For more information, visit livewellcolorado.org/healcampaign or contact
Julie George, director of the HEAL Cities & Towns Campaign of Colorado,
at 720-353-4120 or mailto:email@example.com.
For more information about LiveWell Colorado, visit livewellcolorado.org,
"like" LiveWell Colorado on Facebook
or "follow" @livewellco on Twitter.
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