Category Archives: Activity

Allegheny County’s DHS Hosts Biggest Loser Workplace Challenge

June 1, 2017

PITTSBURGH – Our most recent Live Well Allegheny story comes from a county department that has made the commitment to supporting the health of their employees. The Department of Human Services (DHS) is taking steps to create a culture of workplace wellness. Most recently, DHS employees have been participating in a 12-week Biggest Loser competition! Twenty-nine employees participated in Season 1 of DHS Biggest Loser, which took place between January 3rd and March 24th.  The participants collectively lost over 450 pounds (an average of sixteen pounds per participant), with four participants losing over thirty pounds each.

The top “loser” described his approach to shedding 49 pounds:

“Well, first I’ll say it is 100% mental. I started by finding out my recommended calorie intake per day.  There are many free websites for this.  I just Googled it and picked one. My recommended intake is around 2,100 calories per day. I try to stay at or below that each day. I also went from having minimal exercise throughout the week to doing an hour of cardio six days a week. I switch between the treadmill and the elliptical. I typically use it as an opportunity to catch up on sports, or watch a television show.”

In addition to being leaner, the participant also acknowledged being able to sleep better at night.

The program emphasizes the importance of healthy food choices and increased exercise. All participants are part of a private Office 365 group, where they can voluntarily share tips, recipes, and other resources and encouragement. In addition, the program seeks to foster a culture of wellness by sponsoring informational talks, tours of local gyms, and lunchtime walks. The opportunity to be part of this supportive community is one incentive to participate.

DHS Biggest Loser Season 2 began on April 18th.  Over 40 employees are now participating and looking to build upon the success of Season 1!

Please take a moment to watch this video featuring the stories of a few Season 1 participants: https://vimeo.com/209764088

If you’d like more information about the Biggest Loser competition at DHS, please contact Eddy Jones at edward.jones@alleghenycounty.us.

Go Out and Play for Healthy Communities

Wouldn’t it be great if there were one thing that could improve academic performance, decrease childhood obesity, spur creativity and innovation, invigorate local economies with investment, all while reducing stress and anxiety?  Would it surprise you to know that “play” has been linked to these benefits? While play alone may not be a silver bullet to addressing these concerns, it is certainly a vital component to healthy and engaged communities.

The Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative

The Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative is a group of committed individuals and organizations dedicated to advancing the importance of play in the lives of children, families and communities in the Pittsburgh region.

Beginning in 2013 through informal conversations about the value of play between leaders from Pittsburgh Association for The Education of Young Children (PAEYC), Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Carnegie Museum of Art, and Kids Plus Pediatrics, the Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative has grown from four founding members to include 22 member organizations in the Pittsburgh region.

Members of the collaborative work to advocate for play in each of our diverse fields. We come together to host play conversation events, present our city’s case for play at national conferences, raise awareness about play through community events, and demonstrate how play can be used as a catalyst for community development through projects like our work on the Greater Hazelwood Play Trail and Braddock’s Recycle Park.

Greater Hazelwood Play Trail

Through a multi-year process of community engagement and planning what Hazelwood may look like if it were the “neighborhood of play,” the Greater Hazelwood Play Trail is beginning to take shape. Linking together different playful areas in the neighborhood, the trail will serve as a reminder that play can happen anywhere.

In September 2016, a vacant lot turned playground at 5113 Lytle Street was the first in a series of sites along the greater Hazelwood Play Trail to receive an injection of creativity and play. With generous support from the Heinz Endowments, the Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative, PAEYC, and the Hazelwood Initiative partnered with KaBOOM! to bring together a group of over 160 volunteers to build a playground in a single day.

In coming months, the former site of the Elizabeth Street Playground, now a paved lot, will begin its transformation into a playful parklet featuring new gardens, public art, and space for community programing.

See Play in Action! Join us for Ultimate Play Day

This year, the 5th Annual Ultimate Play Day will be held on Sunday, April 30, 2017 from 1-4 pm in Allegheny Commons East Park in the Northside. Members from the Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative will bring a variety of activities that highlight the value and importance of play as an essential part of living well.

Attendees of all ages can begin to experience firsthand the benefits of play and will leave with ideas to encourage play in their own lives. The event is free and open to the public.

Keep Play in Mind

Everyone can benefit from dedicating a small part of each day to play! Visit the website to learn more and stay connected through the e-newsletter at www.playfulpgh.org.

For more information about the Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative, contact Teresa Pizzella at tpizzella@paeyc.org.

Live Well Allegheny, Tobacco Free Allegheny Celebrate Tobacco Cessation Week

November 11, 2016

Allegheny Quits for Life Being Celebrated November 13-19

PITTSBURGH – The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD), Tobacco Free Allegheny (TFA) and supporting partners are joining together, for the second year, to celebrate Allegheny Quits for Life in Allegheny County, November 13-19. The week is dedicated to promoting tobacco cessation and healthy activities. The kick off will take place on Monday in the Allegheny County Courthouse Courtyard located at 436 Grant Street, downtown Pittsburgh at noon.

father_and_babyAdult smoking rates in the county of almost 23% in 2012 were higher than Pennsylvania and the nation. “Decreasing smoking by 10% is a primary objective of our Live Well Allegheny campaign,” said Dr. Karen Hacker, Director of the Allegheny County Health Department. “For those who smoke, consider quitting this week. There are lots of options for cessation that can make all the difference.”

Allegheny Quits for Life week includes numerous events, hosted by Tobacco Free Allegheny and participating partner organizations such as Pittsburgh Mercy Health System who will bring Dancing Classrooms Pittsburgh to the kickoff for “Merengue Monday,” linking quitting smoking with making fun healthy choices in support of Live Well Allegheny’s #HowDoYouLiveWell campaign. All of the events are aimed at helping individuals stop tobacco use and learn to live healthier. Visit http://bit.ly/AQFL16week  for the dates, times and locations.

Allegheny Quits for Life also coincides with the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout, being held on Thursday, November 17, when smokers are encouraged to quit for the day. By quitting, even for just one day, smokers will be taking an important step towards a healthier life and reducing their cancer risk.

fryThose thinking about quitting smoking are encouraged to call 1 800 QUIT NOW (784-8669). The PA Free Quitline offers personalized counseling sessions and free nicotine replacement therapy (patches, gum or lozenges) is available. Online cessation services are available at https://paquitlogix.org.

Throughout the week, the Health Department is asking people to share images using the hashtags #AlleghenyQuitsforLife2016 and #HowDoYouLiveWell on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Many have already been posted with answers to the question: What are you quitting for?

Live Well Allegheny was launched in January 2014 as a comprehensive, innovative strategy on wellness that embraces a broad concept of living well to include physical health, mental wellness, personal and community safety, prevention and preparedness, and much more. The effort is being led by the Board of Health and Health Department Director Dr. Karen Hacker.

Live Well Allegheny Celebrates Fresh Corners and Green Grocer Programs

October 19, 2016

PITTSBURGH – Live Well Allegheny, Allegheny County’s wellness campaign led by the Board of Health and Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) Director Dr. Karen Hacker, continued its efforts to enhance food access by eliminating food deserts at an event yesterday that celebrated both the Fresh Corners Program and the Green Grocer Program. Both programs were represented at a kick-off event at 5GB’s Fresh Foods Market in McKees Rocks.

“Access to fresh healthy foods is critical for healthy living,” said Dr. Hacker. “We are proud to support innovative efforts like the Green Grocer and Fresh Corners Programs to decrease the food deserts. This collaboration is what Live Well Allegheny is all about, organizations coming together to make it easier for county residents to get what they need to live a healthy lifestyle.”

just-harvest-primary-with-tagThe Fresh Corners Program was launched by Just Harvest as a healthy corner store initiative to improve access to healthy food in underserved neighborhoods in Allegheny County. The Green Grocer Program, managed by the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank (GPCFB), is a mobile farmers market designed to travel into food desert communities to provide the fresh food options that are currently missing from the landscape. Both programs are funded, in part, by a two-year grant received from the Richard King Mellon Foundation awarded to ACHD in June 2016 to continue its Live Well Allegheny efforts to enhance food access.

Yesterday’s event was a health benefit kick-off event at 5GB’s Fresh Foods Market which is part of the Fresh Corners Program, and beginning yesterday, became a site of the Green Grocer mobile farmers market. The mobile food market will stop at 5GB’s Fresh Food Market each Tuesday from 12 -1:00 p.m. Just Harvest, Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank (GPCFB), Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program, and Community Kitchen Pittsburgh all participated in yesterday’s event which also provided health and wellness information and cooking demonstrations.

5GB’s Fresh Food Market recently received authorization to accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in the store. Farmers Market Nutrition Program benefits are accepted at the Green Grocer.

Live Well Allegheny was launched in January 2014 as a comprehensive, innovative strategy on wellness that embraces a broad concept of living well to include physical health, mental wellness, personal and community safety, prevention and preparedness, and much more.

Spotlight on YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh

Name of Organization:
YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh

Address/Location of organization:
Various locations throughout Pittsburgh
Association Office:
420 Fort Duquesne Blvd., Suite 625
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Mission of organization:
To put Christian Principles into practice through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all.

Finish this quote: “We are a LWA partner because we believe…”
In joining forces for the greater good and collectively creating the healthiest county in the country.

Finish this quote: “We know that the inability to pay for a health club membership is a potential barrier for Allegheny county residents getting physical activity”
Which is why we provide financial assistance and never turn anyone away.

What types of activities/resources are available through your organization?
From our family and adult YMCA memberships that include group exercise classes, gymnasiums, swimming pools and access to personal trainers and registered dietitians to our childcare, parent/child programs, youth sports, traditional and overnight camps, we truly have something for everyone.

Are the activities “good for the whole family?” or for “children ages — to —“, seniors? etc.
Everyone is welcome at the YMCA. We offer everything from infant swim lessons to senior group fitness classes. We have an evidence-based diabetes prevention program for adults and specialty camps for people with disabilities and illnesses.

What makes your organization unique? Do you offer a unique service or resource for county residents?
We offer a variety of social services including: residential housing, congregate meals, food pantries, urban gardens, tax preparation, healthcare enrollment support, job placement, family support, etc. Allegheny County residents receive a free 1-week trial pass. Go to www.ymcapgh.org and search Live Well Allegheny.

Do you have any words of wisdom to help others Live Well?
To live well, think of how you can strengthen the pillars of your healthy home. These pillars are: Eat Well, Sleep Well, Get Together, Go Outside and Play Everyday. A balanced lifestyle will honor each of these priorities without feeling like it’s too much work.

Girls on the Run of Magee-Womens Hospital

Address/Location of organization:
3380 Blvd. of the Allies, Suite 315, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Meredith Colaizzi, Program Director • 412.641.1596 • mcolaizzi@magee.edu
GOTR Magee website

Mission of organization:
Girls on the Run inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.

Finish this quote: “We are a LWA partner because we believe…”
… Our goals, mission and core values align with LWA in efforts to educate and improve the health and well-being of the young girls in our area.

What types of activities/resources are available through your organization?
12 week wellness program which combines training for a 5K with lessons on making healthy choices.
Two seasons offered (Spring/Fall) and site locations/meeting days and times posted in August/January at www.gotrmagee.org/register/ OR
www.gotrmagee.org/5k for details on our GOTR 5K’s open to anyone in May and December (also refer to those sites for dates and details)

Are the activities “good for the whole family?”
Girls on the Run program is for 3rd-8th grade girls.
Girls on the Run 5K program is good for the whole family
Fee associated with activity is $20-$160 depending on family income. Scholarships are available upon application.

What makes your organization unique? Do you offer a unique service or resource for county residents?
Girls on the Run is the only program that exists of its kind as a non-competitive running program which also focuses on empowering girls with greater confidence and enhancing their physical, emotional, social and mental well-being.

Do you have any words of wisdom to help others Live Well?
“I learned that I could push myself and be better at whatever I want to do. The best part of Girls on the Run was what I accomplished and learned about myself”
~ Girls on the Run Participant