Buena Vista and Salida Join the HEAL Cities & Towns Campaign

By: Lisa Malde, Director of LiveWell Chaffee County

Trustees and City Council approve resolution to partner with LiveWell Colorado to build a healthier community

LiveWell Chaffee County announced today that the Salida City Council and the Buena Vista Trustees passed resolutions over the past few weeks to join the HEAL Cities & Towns Campaign of Colorado, which champions local government policies that improve access to healthy foods and physical activity in both small and large communities throughout the state.

Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) policies are critical components to a healthy lifestyle and are the focus of LiveWell, to prevent and reduce obesity. Currently, 58 percent of adults and nearly a quarter of children in Colorado are overweight or obese. In Chaffee County nearly 33 percent of adults are overweight and over 22 percent are obese.  According to a study completed last year, Colorado spent $1.637 billion treating diseases and conditions related to obesity in 2009.

LiveWell Colorado joined forces with the Colorado Municipal League to create the HEAL Cities & Towns Campaign and support local elected officials in championing both a city’s physical and fiscal health. LiveWell Chaffee County, who receives funding from LiveWell Colorado through their Community Investments, worked with Town and City staff to present the HEAL resolutions to elected officials.  The campaign supports Governor John Hickenlooper’s initiative to make Colorado the healthiest state in America.

“Buena Vista is a healthy and active community,” said Kathryn Wadsworth, Director of Parks & Recreation for the Town of Buena Vista.  “It’s great for folks that live and work in Buena Vista to know that their Town leaders are committed to trails, parks, playgrounds and healthy work environments.  The weekly farmers market on Main Street in downtown Buena Vista has become a summer staple and our childcare and school food service programs are dedicated to starting kids off on healthy eating!”

“The City of Salida is delighted and honored to be designated an “Active” level HEAL City. The resolution passed by Council reaffirms the City’s commitment to healthy activities and lifestyle choices, as well as policies that support the continuation of such efforts into the future,” said Emily Katsimpalis, Administrative Intern for the City of Salida.  “The HEAL resolution will add a stronger level of policy direction to guide staff and City Council into crafting and passing polices that will lead to a community where making healthy choices is the easiest option.”

“At LiveWell Colorado, we know that creating policies that address healthy living at a local level is critical to addressing the personal, collective and economic impact of obesity in our state,” said Julie George, director of the HEAL Cities & Towns Campaign of Colorado. “We’re confident we can make great headway by partnering with Buena Vista and Salida officials to benefit the lives of residents and employees.”

Participation in the HEAL Cities & Towns Campaign 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. An eight-person advisory committee in partnership with the Colorado Municipal League provides insight on local needs and champions the role municipalities can play in creating healthier communities in Colorado.