Brentwood’s Annual Firecracker 5K Race on July 4 will be more than a holiday activity — it will be the first designated Live Well Brentwood Borough event.
“It stresses the importance of being healthy and fit,” Brentwood manager George Zboyovsky said of the borough campaign.
In November, Brentwood joined the Live Well Allegheny initiative, a county wellness program launched in January 2014.
In addition to Brentwood, 10 other municipalities so far have chosen to be formally designated as Live Well Allegheny communities: Collier, Heidelberg, McCandless, North Fayette, Ohio Township, Pittsburgh, Ross, South Fayette, West View and Wilkins.
Administered by the Allegheny County Health Department, the program is a comprehensive wellness strategy that promotes nutrition, healthy lifestyles, disease prevention, physical activity, personal and community safety, and more.
To be designated as a Live Well Allegheny community, a municipality must indicate its intent to work with the county to accomplish campaign goals.
The community also must commit to a minimum of three action steps, such as promoting smoke-free buildings and perimeters; developing walking maps; promoting and supporting farmers markets; and providing health information focused on monthly or seasonal events.
North Fayette approved an initiative in November committing its involvement to the program and it staged a one-mile walk on the trail at its new community park.
The township website also seeks the support of local businesses in the efforts, such as restaurants offering discounts on salads or on meals that are under 500 calories or chiropractors or other health services offering discounts on vitamins.
North Fayette is also partnering with South Fayette for Live Well Wednesdays, which are to begin this summer and feature seminars and other activities with a wellness theme.
“We are a growing community with a lot of new residents and businesses coming in, and this is a positive thing for us to promote as a way to bring together the community,” Andrea Iglar, South Fayette community development director, said of the township’s campaign.
Karen Hacker, director of the county health department, said as communities became involved, program officials looked at school districts and that resulted in Pittsburgh Public Schools and Duquesne City School District coming aboard.
“Now we’re looking at job sites,” Dr. Hacker said.
The idea for the county program grew from her interest in focusing on behaviors that contribute to four preventable chronic diseases: cancer, heart disease, diabetes type 2 and pulmonary diseases.
Those behaviors include smoking, physical inactivity, obesity, poor diet and tobacco use.
“It was evident there were a lot of different organizations doing things on this, but there was not an overarching framework,” Dr. Hacker said.
Her interest, combined with that of county Executive Rich Fitzgerald, led them to start the campaign.
While there is no dedicated funding, the program receives grant money and contributions from partners, such as health organizations, fitness facilities, certified nutritionists and more who help promote the program mission.
“We see this as a commitment for the long haul,” Dr. Hacker said.
For more information on Live Well Allegheny: www.livewellallegheny.com.
Margaret Smykla, freelance writer: email@example.com.