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Archive for Thursday, August 13, 2009

Health group seeks input from public

August 13, 2009

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How to get involved

LiveWell Lawrence, an initiative that aims to ensure Lawrence residents have support for good health, is seeking input and ideas from the community.

There will be two meetings that are open to anyone interested:

• Aug. 26, 3:30 p.m., at the East Lawrence Recreation Center, 1245 E. 15th St.

• Sept. 3, 7 p.m., at Holcom Park Recreation Center, 2700 W. 27th St.

To make reservations or for more information, contact the Douglas County Health Foundation at 843-8727 or e-mail info@ livewelllawrence.org.

Get moving, and don’t forget to make healthier food choices along the way.

That’s the message LiveWell Lawrence hopes to spread.

LiveWell Lawrence is a network of organizations, businesses, schools and people who are working to integrate healthy eating and regular physical activity into every aspect of community life.

“Healthier people tend to be happier people,” said Marilyn Hull, facilitator for LiveWell Lawrence. “It’s also a way to get control of our health care costs and avoid those preventable illnesses that tend to be exacerbated by obesity.”

The initiative was started when the Douglas County Community Foundation received a grant from the Kansas Health Foundation. It is receiving $100,000 a year over three years.

Hull, also program and communications officer for the Douglas County Community Foundation, said DCCF would re-grant about $200,000 to community organizations that work to make workplace, school, neighborhood and community environments healthier.

A steering committee, with about a dozen people, has met for nine months. Its first community event was the “world’s largest community workout” on July 8, when about 2,800 people turned out to do sit-ups, push-ups, jumping jacks and a half-mile run at Kansas University’s Shenk Recreational Sports Complex.

Now, the group is seeking to grow and gain input from others who are committed to wellness — professionally, personally or both.

“We are trying to identify those people and form a network that can then really work on strategies for moving the community forward,” Hull said. “We want input, ideas, energy and involvement.”

Mike McGrew, a member of the steering committee, said LiveWell Lawrence is about creating an environment in which people are more inclined to be active and make good food choices.

“Lawrence is a town with a great conscience and very in tune to lots of issues. I think this is one that’s a natural,” said McGrew, who enjoys cycling and playing tennis.

Hull said residents like McGrew can help influence others. Recent studies on weight, diet and exercise in Kansas showed Lawrence fared better than most communities. However, 50 percent of the city’s adult population is overweight or obese.

She said many Lawrence residents reported that they were not eating enough fruits and vegetables or getting sufficient daily exercise.

“While we have some strengths, we can do better, and it’s really about working together to improve our own health,” she said.

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