Thursday, April 7, 2016

Nederland is Now a HEAL Town – Just Do It

Julie George from LiveWell Colorado discusses
the HEAL Campaign with Mayor Joe Gierlach
Part of documenting my training for the BolderBOULDER is incorporating the HEAL Cities & Towns Campaign through LiveWell Colorado. I'm inviting anyone in Boulder County to adopt my Training Schedule, and encouraging all the municipalities in Boulder County to adopt HEAL Cities & Towns Resolutions.

HEAL stands for Healthy Eating and Active Living, two critical components to a healthy lifestyle and the focus of LiveWell Colorado in its effort to prevent and reduce obesity throughout the state.

On March 15, 2016, the Nederland Board of Trustees unanimously approved Resolution 2016-07 Declaring Nederland a LiveWell HEAL Town, and Setting Forth Nederland’s Commitment to Obesity Prevention. Colorado municipalities that adopt similar resolutions with goals to increase access to healthy eating and active living are eligible to become a HEAL city or town, and receive free technical assistance, education, and marketing resources. Joining The Campaign designates Nederland as a leader in promoting healthy eating and active living among Colorado municipalities. I'm proud to say that the next action that the board took that evening was approving a full water fee waiver for the Nederland Community Garden which will be revitalized this summer.

For the past several years, we had incorporated LiveWell ideals into our town's goals, but due to limited resources, those goals were placed on the back burner by town staff until they found 'free time'. Similarly, I also had the desire to adopt a healthy lifestyle someday, when I had some free time. I realized that the only way to make this happen was to 'Just Do It'.

Deciding to Just Do It 

At the time, I had been on the Executive Board of the Colorado Municipal League where I met Julie George, Director of HEAL Cities & Towns Campaign for LiveWell Colorado. I attended one of her presentations at the CML Conference in Vail, and again a year later in Breckenridge. During my stay at the conference, I biked on the Recpath from Breckenridge to Frisco and back for the first time.

I came back to Nederland and went straight to Tin Shed Sports, our local bike shop, and asked why we don’t have a bike trail like that. I discovered a secret, rocky trail that locals were using in the forest behind my house, and I now run on today. It was because that trail was available to me, at that moment, I had the opportunity to say to myself, I can start today–Just Do It. I didn't say to myself, "I'm going to apply for a planning grant so that I can build a trail and run on it someday when I have free time."

Lyons Mayor Connie Sullivan, Nederland Mayor
Joe Gierlach, Lafayette Mayor Christine Berg, Louisville
Mayor Bob Muckle, Longmont Mayor, Dennis Coombs,
Boulder Mayor Zan Jones, Superior Mayor Clint Folsom
The town had plenty of excuses why it didn't get around to working on our adopted goals, and I had plenty of excuses of why I wasn't focusing on my personal health goals. So, last year, I was trying to push the idea of joining the HEAL Cities & Towns Campaign with a volunteer at the Nederland Community Center (which has the "Fitness Place") and they did a fundraiser as a two month long "Community Wellness Challenge", which I participated in. I was just beginning my own personal journey of making a commitment to pay attention to my health, which coincided nicely with the Challenge.

I feel that the LiveWell HEAL Cities & Towns Campaign enlightened me a bit on the role our community plays in every individual's health and wellness. The Campaign aims to reduce and prevent obesity by engaging municipal leaders to champion healthy eating and active living in their communities through adoption of policy and promotion of opportunities for residents and municipal employees. The Campaign provides technical assistance to support this process. Nederland is the second HEAL Town in Boulder County, after Lafayette.

Last year, I participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge with the Mayors of Boulder County along with the County Commissioners. The leader in that effort was Mayor Christine Berg from Lafayette. It is in that spirit, that I challenge the municipalities in Boulder County to pass resolutions to become a HEAL City or Town for LiveWell Colorado.
Taken from the resolution Nederland passed March 15th, "... WHEREAS, 56 percent of Colorado adults and 26.5 percent of our children are overweight or obese; and WHEREAS, the adult obesity rate has doubled in Colorado since 1995 and, if trends continue, only 33 percent of Colorado adults will be a healthy weight by 2020; and WHEREAS, over the past three decades, childhood obesity has tripled among school-aged children in the U.S.; and WHEREAS, more children are being diagnosed with diseases linked to overweight and obesity previously seen only in adults, such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The current generation of children are expected to have shorter lives than their parents due to the consequences of obesity; and WHEREAS, the annual cost to Colorado—in medical bills, workers compensation and lost productivity— for overweight, obesity, and physical inactivity exceeds $1.6 billion; and ..."
But perhaps the most revealing insight was in Julie George's presentation to the Nederland Board of Trustees. She presented a chart [similar to the first chart in this CDPHE Report] which shows that Colorado is the least obese and therefore the 'leanest' state in the U.S. Over time across the country, obesity has increased, including in Colorado, and Colorado is still the 'leanest' state in the country. However, Colorado in 2013 is more obese than the least healthy state in the country in the 1990's.

If we are going to reverse this trend, we have to act now – Just Do It.

[Here is a Video Valediction] This is Latin House Guitarra G, from G Club presents Banda Sonora, the third song in my Running Track that I’ve been running to. Collectively, Joe's Running Track is sort of Techno, Trip Hop, Progressive House music, but if you actually run to this track, I think you’ll understand what I mean. [What is a Video Valediction?]

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