PITTSBURGH – Dr. Karen Hacker, Director of the Allegheny County Health Department, was joined by elected and appointed officials, students and residents of Allegheny County, Mt. Lebanon and the Mt. Lebanon School District to formally designate the district and municipality as part of the Live Well Allegheny campaign.
“It has been a fantastic two years for the Live Well Allegheny campaign, as the vitality we see in our communities is reflected in this campaign for a healthier county,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “We see evidence each day that this effort is working, and that news has been supported by the recent data from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. While we’ve made improvements, we know that there’s more work to do which is why it’s so important to have so many organizations help in this effort.”
The Live Well launch happened this morning during the community’s first Farmer’s Market of the season which is held each week near the municipal building on Washington Road. In addition to the announcement, students from Mt. Lebanon participated in a game focused on #HowDoYouLiveWell, answering questions that ranged from health, nutrition, exercise and swim safety, to internet use and more.
“As a health care professional, I am very pleased that school districts and communities are becoming more involved in promoting an active, healthy lifestyle that will improve the health and well-being of their citizens,” said County Council Member Sue Means, who represents District 5 in which Mt. Lebanon is located.
The addition of Mt. Lebanon and the Mt. Lebanon School District brings the overall count of participants in Live Well Allegheny Communities to 23 and Live Well Allegheny Schools to 6. The initiative has also recently launched Live Well Allegheny Restaurants and Live Well Allegheny Workplaces.
“I am so pleased to celebrate a joint announcement by both the municipality and school district. Live Well Allegheny is about encouraging health behaviors for all Allegheny County residents in all facets of life at work, school or in our local communities,” said Hacker. “Whether it is students making healthier choices in the lunch line or local communities organizing events to encourage more physical activity. These small changes all add up to a healthier Allegheny County.”
Mt. Lebanon already engages in a number of activities to promote health, including the sponsorship of the Uptown Farmers’ Market, offering volunteer opportunities to enhance the quality of life, cycling and walking events and other initiatives for its 33,000 citizens. In addition to committing to continuing current activities, the municipality also intends to utilize the Tour de Mt. Lebanon, recreational opportunities and numerous other healthy initiatives to further the goals of the campaign.
“When it comes to health and wellness, being a walking community with a top regional hospital as its largest employer gives us a head start,” said Mt. Lebanon Commissioner Kelly Fraasch. “But nearly every municipal department, our school district and various nonprofit agencies located in Mt. Lebanon have contributed to our focus on improving quality of life for all, and our commitment to promoting wellness and safety for all residents.”
The Mt. Lebanon School District is also taking steps to promote the goals of the Live Well Allegheny campaign by focusing on staff wellness, student wellness and community wellness. The district already provides a comprehensive wellness plan for staff, offers a standards-based health and physical education curriculum, and has eliminated non-recyclable materials at all of its schools. Moving forward, the district has committed to share wellness tips and events using its social media accounts, providing healthy snacks for staff and faculty, as well as students for schools-related events, continuing its connections to local produce through Farm to School Partnerships and making water coolers available at all schools, as just a starting point.
“We are pleased to partner with Allegheny County, the Health Department and the Mt. Lebanon municipality as a Live Well Allegheny School,” said Timothy Steinhauer, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools. “The health and well-being of our students and staff is a priority in the Mt. Lebanon School District, so we are honored to take part in this important public health initiative to promote wellness and healthy living in our schools.”
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.
For more information on the Live Well Allegheny campaign, including how to become a Live Well Allegheny community or school, visit the Gain Live Well Status page.