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In February, mayor Joan Foster challenged citizens of Lynchburg to “lighten up” and lose 24,000 pounds (12 tons). Since then, 371 people have lost 565 pounds and logged 2189 exercise miles collectively with the Live Healthy Lynchburg program.
Liberty’s Health Promotion department has been actively involved in this Live Healthy Lynchburg initiative. Its Program Planning and Evaluation in Health Education (Health 453) class has been participating in the pilot program by collaborating with the Lynchburg chapter of Action Communities for Health, Innovation and Environmental Change (ACHIEVE).
ACHIEVE is sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and “identifies, promotes and shares evidence and practice-based strategies and provides technical assistance related to chronic disease prevention and health promotion” through its Healthy Communities Program, according to the organization’s website.
The class helped brainstorm program plans and interventions that could be implemented in the community by college students, health educators and medical professionals. The class was divided into two groups for the project.
The first group is working to raise awareness about Live Healthy Lynchburg to the Liberty community and to get faculty, staff and students to sign up on the website.
The second group is putting some of its intervention ideas into practice within the Liberty community. One of their goals is to increase awareness about the importance of physical activity by encouraging students to walk around campus rather than drive or take the bus. The group will determine the distances between locations and then make that information available to students, faculty, staff and visitors to campus (for example, they have counted the number of steps from DeMoss Hall to Green Hall and several staircases).
The program was designed to educate the community about healthy lifestyles and encourage participants to make live-saving changes in their habits.
The initiative is being supported by local medical professionals, businesses, health educators and churches. It is sponsored by Central Virginia Health District, Centra Foundation and the City of Lynchburg.
“With truly alarming rising rates of obesity, diabetes and overweight children, interventions are definitely needed to change not only the health of adults but also set the stage for a healthier next generation,” Christine Anasco, a junior Liberty University Health Promotion student, said. “It’s not simply about people losing weight.”
Participants can keep track of their progress by logging on to LiveHealthyLynchburg.com, where members can sign up confidentially and log miles they have walked, jogged, run, bicycled or swam. Members are also given the option to register under their workplace, university or the City of Lynchburg.
So far, Liberty University has lost 29 pounds collectively under the Live Healthy Lynchburg program.
Live Healthy Lynchburg also provides information on the medical risks related to being overweight and information on support group meetings.
LiveHealthyLynchburg.com provides suggestions for healthy activities families can partake in locally and tips on nutrition and healthy eating.
“Interventions are being made to encourage the people of Lynchburg to become more active, eat better and learn about the health risks associated with obesity and poor nutrition,” Anasco said.
For more information about Live Healthy Lynchburg, visit livehealthylynchburg.com .