Category Archives: Live Well Stories

Sleep is Important to Living Well

Did you know that getting enough sleep is important to your health and well-being? According to Healthy People 2020, adequate sleep helps to: fight infection, support metabolism of sugar to prevent diabetes, perform well in school and at work. Most adults should get between 7-9 hours of sleep each night to be well rested and ready for the day. If you find yourself struggling to fall asleep or get restful sleep, follow the steps below:

1.Decrease your screen time.

The blue light from your TV, computer, and cell phone screens messes with your body’s natural sleep/wake patterns, making it more difficult to fall asleep when you lay down at night. Try unplugging from technology at least 30 minutes before you plan to go to bed. If you can’t unplug, another option is to get an app that will help control the blue light coming from your tech devices after the sun goes down for your computer or iphone or for your android device.

2. Add relaxing activities to your nightly routine.

Your bedtime routine doesn’t have to stop at brushing your teeth! Add in some stretching or deep breathing to calm your mind and your muscles to prepare your body for sleep.

3. Try to keep a regular sleep schedule.

Use this awesome bedtime calculator to find out when is best for you to go to sleep at night. After you know when you should be going to bed based on when you need to wake up, try to keep a consistent schedule.

4. Exercise!

If you need another reason to start exercising, here it is! Research shows that for those who have trouble sleeping, exercise may help people fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and have better sleep quality than before they began exercising regularly.

5. Reserve your bedroom for relaxation and sleeping

Try to only do relaxing activities in your bedroom. Avoid bringing homework, work-related tasks, violent television or games, etc. into your bedroom. Get a comfortable mattress, pillow, and bedding and keep your room dimly lit for a better sleep atmosphere.

Check out sleepfoundation.org for more great sleep tips!

American Heart Association, Allegheny County Team Up to Build Culture of Health

March 14, 2017

Challenge: BP Aims to Raise Awareness and Lower Blood Pressure of Residents

PITTSBURGH – The American Heart Association (AHA) and Allegheny County, through its Live Well Allegheny initiative, have partnered to present Challenge: BP, an effort designed to encourage communities, organizations and workplaces to help control high blood pressure of county residents.

“We are recruiting and working with workplaces and community based organizations to provide them with evidence-based tools and resources to empower their employees and members to take control of their blood pressure. This community-wide challenge builds the idea that we are all in this together, and that we can achieve our goals together as a community,” said Deb Banks, Executive Director of the American Heart Association, Greater Pittsburgh Region. “We are encouraging communities, organizations and workplaces to take on this challenge to live healthier, and managing your blood pressure is a good first step.”

Nearly 80 million adults have high blood pressure (HBP or hypertension).  HBP has no symptoms and is often referred to as the silent killer. High blood pressure is one the leading risk factors of cardiovascular disease and stroke. In Allegheny County, the number of deaths from cardiovascular disease is higher than the state and national average.

“When we launched Live Well Allegheny, it was with the idea that our stakeholders and partners could help shape and guide the efforts that we were undertaking through their own interests and expertise. That is certainly the case with this partnership with the American Heart Association,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “Working cooperatively with the AHA and all of our stakeholders, partners, communities, schools and workplaces to talk about the need to be aware of high blood pressure and the steps that we can all take to reduce that risk is an important part of a healthy community.”

The goal of Challenge: BP is to empower participants to take ownership of their cardiovascular health, and to lower blood pressure by 10 points on average as a community.

“We know that hypertension is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. Some of our communities are disproportionately impacted,” said Dr. Karen Hacker, Director of the Allegheny County Health Department. “This collaborative effort with the AHA will encourage communities and workplaces to participate in improving the culture of health. It’s the hallmark of the Live Well Allegheny campaign.”

According the American Heart Association, a normal blood pressure is less than 120/80.  While there is no cure for HBP, using medication as prescribed and making positive lifestyle changes can help enhance your quality of life and reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and more.

Companies already participating in the inaugural year include Gateway Health who will be offering blood pressure management programs to their members; and Giant Eagle/Market District pharmacy locations, where you can take part in their blood pressure management programs.  Other workplaces engaged in this challenge so far are CCAC, MARC USA, Teletech, Veteran Leadership Program of Western PA, all of which will be offering blood pressure management programs to their employees.

Workplaces and community organizations can sign up free of charge to participate in Challenge: BP until March 31, 2017.  This challenge period is from March through November 30, 2017.  A new cycle will start in 2018. The American Heart Association will provide free tools and resources to assist your group with the challenge. Participating entities will be recognized at the end of the program, and they will be able to nominate an outstanding member who made significant changes in their lifestyle to improve their health.

For more information on Challenge: BP, visit  www.heart.org/Pittsburgh or the Challenge: BP page.  To register your organization or workplace, email the American Heart Association at ChallengeBP@heart.org.

Follow the conversation and stay connected using #challengeBP, #AHAPGH and  #howdoyoulivewell

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About the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association:

The American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association are devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based American Heart Association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. The American Stroke Association is a division of the American Heart Association. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

American Heart Association/American Stroke Association
444 Liberty Avenue │ Suite 1300 │ Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Phone: 412-208-3550

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.

Braddock Borough and Two Employers Commit to Live Well Allegheny

August 13, 2016

PITTSBURGHLiveWellBraddockThe Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) today announced that the Borough of Braddock is the latest community to receive the designation of a Live Well Allegheny community. The announcement was made as part of the Braddock Community Day event held earlier today.

Live Well Allegheny encourages people to make changes where they live and work that will impact their health,” said Dr. Karen Hacker, Director of the Allegheny County Health Department. “I commend the newest members of Live Well Allegheny that are contributing to a healthier Allegheny County.”

The Borough of Braddock hosted its annual community day at the intersection of Braddock Avenue and Library Street. In addition to visiting with representatives of the Health Department, attendees could also participate in Zumba, cardio boot camps, children’s games and a parade.

“We are thrilled to have another community join our effort to become a healthier county,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “With the commitment from Braddock, we now have 26 municipalities which are actively working with the county to help their residents become healthier.”

In its ordinance for Live Well Allegheny, Braddock indicated that it will:

  • Promote participation in a voluntary wellness campaign for the community’s employees
  • Share information on wellness campaign events with the broader community to encourage voluntary participation of residents
  • Develop indoor and outdoor wellness trails accessible to residents of all abilities
  • Offer incentives for employees who walk or bike to work
  • Encourage multi-modal transportation of residents by providing facilities or policies that encourage walking and bike riding
  • Promote and support farmer’s markets
  • Encourage involvement with community volunteer activities
  • Promote smoke-free buildings and perimeters.

“I’m very proud that Braddock has joined this effort, and that the announcement of their commitment was made in such a public way as part of its Community Day celebration,” said Dr. Charles Martoni, the District 8 Allegheny County Council Member. “Braddock is the fourth municipality in my district to help us become a healthier county, and we are grateful for their efforts.”

The borough has already set a strong example for how a community can help its residents become healthier.

“The health of our residents is a priority. We host a 2-acre urban farm with Grow Pittsburgh to promote access to fresh produce and our Red Lantern Bike Shop provides kids free bicycles and repairs to encourage physical activity. I am excited that we are part Live Well Allegheny as it is great partnership to foster a healthy community in Braddock,” said Mayor John Fetterman.

The event also provided an opportunity to announce that two more organizations have become part of the Live Well Allegheny Workplaces effort: Rankin Christian Center and Virtual Officeware (DE) LLC.

The Rankin Christian Center (Rankin, PA) committed to action steps in four main focus areas to be designated as a Live Well Workplace:

  • First, the company will make changes in the building facilities and workplace environment including providing healthy food options during company meetings and functions, ensuring well-lit and safe stairwells, providing access to filtered water cooler dispenser, access to an on-site room for fitness activity, providing space for a workplace garden.
  • Second, it will integrate policy which will include providing employees with comprehensive health insurance including dental and preventative care with low copays.
  • Third, it will provide health education, screening and prevention services like onsite health fairs and screenings for staff and community members in collaboration with local health providers.
  • Finally, the organization leaders will actively demonstrate support for staff wellness and participate in wellness activities and programs.

Virtual OfficeWare, (Pittsburgh, PA) indicated that it has already implemented many of the goals of the campaign including:

  • Creating an Employee Wellness Committee that has ongoing leadership support and participation as well as representatives from various departments
  • Providing Fitness Wearables (Jawbone Up Bands) in conjunction with a step challenge
  • Drafting a new company mission statement that supports employee well-being
  • Offering health screenings for Blood Pressure, LDL Cholesterol, and Glucose readings
  • Provide free healthy snacks such as fresh fruit in the breakroom
  • Access to in-site fitness center, workout room and outdoor bicycles for physical activity
  • Offering a reduction in insurance premiums, cash and extra PTO days to encourage participation in health improvement activities.

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.

Borough of Green Tree Designated as Newest Live Well Allegheny Community

June 30, 2016

Live_Well_Green-Tree-BoroughPITTSBURGH – Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, County Council Member Jim Ellenbogen and Dr. Karen Hacker of the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) today designated the Borough of Green Tree as the county’s latest Live Well Allegheny Community during the borough’s Health & Fitness Fair. The borough’s participation raises the number of Live Well Allegheny communities to 25.

“It is thrilling to see so many communities in Allegheny County embrace the Live Well Allegheny initiative and its goals,” said Fitzgerald. “We know that we have seen improvements, generally, in the health of our county over the past few years and with so many communities joining us in this effort, I have no doubt that we will continue to see progress, and an even healthier Allegheny County moving forward.”

The Borough of Green Tree hosted its first Live Well Health & Fitness Fair at its Farmers Market at Green Tree Park. In addition to representatives of the Health Department and Human Services, the Food Bank and American Diabetes Association also participate in the event along with local health coaches, yoga instructors and others.

“I’m very excited to see another municipality from District 12 join the Live Well Allegheny program. With Green Tree’s commitment, all I commend their elected officials for taking this step to help the county become healthier,” said Ellenbogen. “The residents of Green Tree already have a large number of resources available to them, and I have no doubt that with their participation in this effort, we will continue to make progress.”

In its ordinance for Live Well Allegheny, Green Tree Council indicated that the borough has already implemented many of the goals of the campaign including:

  • Promoting participation in a voluntary wellness campaign for the borough’s employees
  • Sharing information on recreation and learning events with the broader community
  • Developing and maintaining outdoor wellness trails accessible to residents of all abilities
  • Developing and displaying walking maps and measuring the distances mapped to encourage residents to meet goals
  • Offering and adding health foods offered in borough-owned concession stands

“We’re excited to see Green Tree join our efforts to make the county a healthier place. With the borough on board, we have engaged 25 communities in Live Well Allegheny,” said Hacker. “We’re going to continue our efforts until all 130 municipalities are part of the campaign.”

Moving forward, the borough has committed to:

  • Developing incentives for employees who walk or bike to work
  • Encouraging multi-modal transportation of residents by providing facilities or policies that encourage walking and bike riding
  • Working with vending companies to post calories and nutrient contents and amounts for the foods offered in borough-owned vending machines and concession stands
  • Expanding existing smoke-free zones in buildings, perimeters and parks

“Green Tree has many amenities, such as our walking track, trails, parks, pool and great recreation programs, that enable our residents to exercise – but we need to do more,” said Mark Sampogna, Green Tree Council President. “Joining the Live Well Allegheny program puts us on the right path with access to many other resources. It’s all part of providing a good quality of life for our borough residents.”

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.

Forum: How do we create healthy neighborhoods for all?

Allegheny County Health Director Karen Hacker, MD, MPH, participated in an hour-long online forum sponsored by the Urbankind Institute of Pittsburgh. The forum, live-streamed and recorded on June 17, was titled: My Neighborhood; How do we create healthy, opportunity-rich neighborhoods for all?

Panelists included: Dr. Karen Hacker; Dawn Plummer, Director of Pittsburgh Policy Food Council; Presley Gillespie, President, Neighborhood Allies; Stephanie Boddie, CMU; Candi Castleberry Singleton, CEO Dignity and Respect Inc.; and Kyra Straussman, Director of Real Estate Urban Redevelopment Authority.

Live Well Allegheny Recieves 2-Yr. Richard King Mellon Grant

Funding Extends Initiatives to Improve the Health of County Residents

Richard_King_Mellon_Foundation_logoThe Allegheny County Health Department announced today that it is has received an additional $1,500,000 two-year grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation to continue its Live Well Allegheny efforts to enhance food access by eliminating food deserts and by expanding opportunities for physical activity through built environment changes. While Live Well Allegheny targets the entire County, this grant provides resources for a special emphasis on disadvantaged communities and builds on the success of a prior one-year grant.

“We are particularly excited about this grant because it represents three years of funding from the Richard King Mellon Foundation for our collective efforts to improve health of residents in Allegheny County,” said Dr. Karen Hacker, Director of the Allegheny County Health Department. “The projects that are funded as part of Live Well Allegheny are beginning to have a measurable impact and we look forward to continued work.”

Several stakeholders involved in the work will also receive funding as part of this project, including Allegheny County Economic Development, Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, Just Harvest, and the United Way of Allegheny County/fitUnited. RAND Health is helping with the evaluation.

Following are several of the accomplishments achieved with the first year of funding and plans for the next two years:

  • Allegheny County Economic Development Department launched the Active Allegheny Grant Program to provide financial assistance to communities to develop plans and design transportation projects that will, when implemented, increase residents’ opportunities for physical activity. To date, two projects have been funded and seven more applications have been received for review. This grant opportunity will be extended by two additional years to promote active transportation and the implementation of the Active Allegheny Plan.
  • Just Harvest expanded the Fresh Access Program to five additional farmer’s markets in 2015 and 2016, enabling people to use their SNAP and EBT benefits at farmer’s markets to purchase fruits and vegetables. Food stamp sales have soared by 80% in 2015 over the previous year. All Fresh Access markets also participate in the Food Bucks fresh produce incentive program adding even more buying power for low-income residents to get fresh fruit and vegetables with their food stamps. People can visit the newest Fresh Access markets in Wilkinsburg, West Homestead, Moon Township, Homewood and Sharpsburg.
  • Just Harvest launched the Fresh Corners Program to get corner stores in communities considered to be food deserts to sell healthier foods including fresh produce. So far, four stores have joined including Rocks Express, In-and-Out corner Market, a newly-opened market connected to 5 Generations Bakers in McKees Rocks and LA Grocery in the Larimer section of Pittsburgh. Moving forward, Just Harvest will continue to work with store owners, local government officials, community stakeholders and potential grocery start-ups to bring Fresh Corners to more areas of high need.
  • The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank launched the Green Grocer Program, a mobile farmers market that travels to food desert communities to provide the fresh food options. The Green Grocer is currently making stops every week in six different communities including North Oakland, the Northside, Clairton, Mt. Oliver/Knoxville, Homewood and Wilmerding. To date, there have been 1,859 sales transactions.
  • fitUnited expanded the Live Well Allegheny campaign through outreach to youth serving and corporate partners, raising $75,000 for increased physical activity and improved nutrition programs. Fifty-three fitUnited partners have joined the Live Well Allegheny While continuing to take the Live Well Allegheny message to day care centers across the county, fitUnited also has a large Day of Action planned on June 11 on the Northside, with an anticipated 200 volunteers.
  • The Allegheny County Health Department initiated the Allegheny Health Survey which is currently underway. It will provide data that can be used to gauge the effectiveness of current programs and determine areas in need of improvement to best meet the needs of county residents. It is expected to be completed later this summer.

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 initiative has expanded greatly since its inception. Today, there are 24 Live Well Allegheny Communities with 589,835 residents, six Live Well Allegheny Schools with an enrollment of 46,546 children and 24 Live Well Allegheny Restaurants. The addition of Live Well Allegheny Workplaces is underway, providing another opportunity for county residents to engage in a healthy lifestyle behaviors. All of the Live Well Allegheny accomplishments are documented in the recently released report which is available on the web site at the following link: http://www.livewellallegheny.com/about-us/biannual-report-2014-15/.

Municipality of Monroeville Receives Live Well Allegheny Designation

May 26, 2016

Announcement made at Celebration of National Senior Health & Fitness Day

Live_Well_MonroevilleThe Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) announced today that the Municipality of Monroeville is the latest to receive designation as a Live Well Allegheny community. Their participation brings the number of Live Well Allegheny communities to 24 as they embrace the countywide effort to “live well.”

Live Well Allegheny is about building healthy communities for all residents,” said Dr. Karen Hacker, Director of the Allegheny County Health Department. “I commend Monroeville for their commitment to living well across the life span. We have heard from several Allegheny County communities about the importance of residents being able to live healthier right in their own community. Monroeville is a good example of this as they are providing resources for young and older residents.”

The Live Well Allegheny designation occurred earlier this afternoon at the Monroeville Senior Center as part of the celebration of National Senior Health and Fitness Day. The senior center organized a schedule of events including fitness classes, educational seminars and tours of the new functional fitness stations located in the fitness center.

“Having a healthy community applies to everyone, no matter their age, gender, physical ability or health, which is why it’s so thrilling to see Monroeville celebrate its Live Well Allegheny designation at a Senior Health & Fitness Day,” said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “Our region has long been recognized as one of the best places to retire because of the access to health facilities, opportunities for continuing education, a low cost of living and public transportation coverage. We’re proud of the fact that older Americans can live safe, independent and healthy lives here in Allegheny County.”

In its ordinance for Live Well Allegheny, Monroeville Council has agreed to following actions to encourage its residents to live a healthy lifestyle:

  • Share wellness information with employees and the broader community
  • Plan and implement a Live Well Allegheny event in cooperation with the campaign that encourages active living
  • Encourage multi-modal transportation of residents by providing information about public transportation along with biking and walking resources
  • Develop walking maps and measure distances mapped
  • Promote and support farmer’s markets with emphasis on helping all of Monroeville residents have access to fresh and healthy foods
  • Work with local food banks to help ensure access their to healthy foods
  • Provide information regarding leisure activities for children and teens in Monroeville

“I’m proud to represent Monroeville and excited to have the community join the Live Well Allegheny campaign,” said Council Member Dr. Charles Martoni. “Today, Monroeville joins District 8 communities Braddock Hills, Chalfant and Turtle Creek in making our county healthier as Live Well Allegheny communities. I look forward to having many, many more join us in the months to come.”

Monroeville Mayor, Gregory Erosenko said, “I am very excited that Live Well Allegheny is coming to Monroeville and that our residents will be able to participate in this healthy initiative. It is always good to take care of ourselves so that we can live long, healthy lives.”

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.

Two Municipalities & Two School Districts Join Live Well Allegheny!

Live Well Allegheny is proud to announce that the boroughs of Sewickley and Turtle Creek, along with the McKeesport Area and West Allegheny School Districts, are the four newest members of the county’s Live Well Allegheny campaign. Their participation brings the number of Live Well Allegheny communities to 22 and school districts to five as they embrace the countywide effort to “live well.”

“It’s extremely exciting to add four more members to Live Well Allegheny,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “Our goal from the beginning is to have the engagement and involvement of a vast number of stakeholders in this effort, because it’s only by working together that we’re going to be able to help our community be healthier.”

“Each new Live Well Allegheny commitment expands the impact of our collective effort to improve the health of Allegheny County residents,” said Dr. Karen Hacker, Director of the Allegheny County Health Department. “All of our Live Well communities and schools working together can promote simple changes to make their residents healthier. Whether it is offering employee wellness programs or access to bike and pedestrian trails, or healthier food options in schools, these are things which will surround residents with opportunities and help make the healthy choice the default choice.”

Live_Well_W-Allegheny-SchoolsIn Council District 1, the West Allegheny School District is committed to creating a community of learners who value wellness, specifically nutrition, fitness, and personal safety. The district’s Live Well Allegheny commitment is in four main areas including an active wellness committee that meets throughout the year to plan for wellness initiatives. Staff wellness activities include a partnership with FitBit to enable staff to purchase FitBits at a reduced cost, a Biggest Loser competition for staff and a summer fitness challenge. Student-centered wellness activities that includes a commitment to physical education classes including swimming, recess every day and Wellness Walks conducted periodically at the elementary school. Community partnerships which include working with the food service provider on the provision of fruit and vegetables offered at every meal including 2% milk options, healthy fundraising activities and an annual 5k event. The district is planning a Live Well Allegheny wellness fair to take place in 2016.

“I am thrilled that the West Allegheny School District will be part of Live Well Allegheny. The district is planning a variety of initiatives and opportunities planned to empower students, teachers, staff and families to make healthier and more active decisions inside and outside of school to better themselves mentally and physically,” said District 1 Council Member Tom Baker. “This will go a long way to positively influence the lives of the students from North Fayette Township and Findlay Township in District 1 in Allegheny County.”

Live_Well_McKeesport-Area-SchoolLikewise, in Council District 9, the Board of Directors of the McKeesport Area School District made a commitment to a comprehensive healthy schools program. They will offer fruits and vegetables at all meals and 2% milk instead of whole milk, utilize web sites and social media to provide information on physical activity, nutrition, stress management, tobacco cessation and other wellness initiatives as well as promote increased consumption of water. The McKeesport Area School District is the second district to join from the Mon Valley as part of the Live Well Mon Valley Initiative.

“Your diet, the way you live, and how you exercise are important things,” said District 9 Council Member Robert Macey.  “They’re important for your health and well-being, but also impact your ability to learn and achieve your goals. I’m thrilled to see the school district recognize that connection and proud that they are a part of the Live Well Allegheny campaign.”

Live_Well_Turtle-Creek-BoroughTurtle Creek Borough in District 8 joins five other municipalities as part of the Live Well Mon Valley Initiative in making a commitment to smoke-free buildings and parks, promoting a farmer’s market, making a commitment to plan a wellness event, promoting walking and biking activities and trail projects. The borough will also encourage the adoption of healthier food options at community events and promote wellness information to residents in a variety of ways including on web sites and on social media.

“Promoting quality of life, healthy development and positive health behaviors is important because it impacts each person individually by increasing quality and years of healthy life,” said District 8 Council Member Dr. Charles Martoni. “I am excited to see so many of our communities recognizing the importance of being healthy, but also supporting efforts for its residents to live healthier. I’m so proud to have so many District 8 communities committing to live well.”

Live_Well_Sewickley-BoroughSewickley Borough in Council District 2 passed a Live Well Allegheny resolution in September 2015. The borough has an extensive 5-year employee wellness program including increasing steps, weight loss, heart rate awareness and annual physicals. Also, as part of their membership in the Municipal Benefits Services for health care services they were able to purchase FitBits for every employee. The municipality has made a commitment to smoke-free parks and buildings and supports a weekly farmer’s market that is held at St. James Church. Each year there are four 5k events held in Sewickley Borough. In addition, wellness is promoted to residents on both the borough web site and Sewickley TV.

“Promoting good health has an impact on individuals and communities, as well as their living conditions, and enhances the quality of life for everyone,” said District 2 Council Member Jan Rea. “Encouraging people to make choices that benefit themselves is not always an easy task, but efforts such as Live Well Allegheny engage residents and communities in making those decisions together. The buy-in from District 2 communities is exciting, and as we all begin working together more closely on initiatives, our residents and communities will benefit.”