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Local Organizations Engage as Vision 2020 Champions

August 09, 2012
Keene, NH

Groups Working Together to Live in the Healthiest Community in the Nation

Champions

Cheshire County's Healthiest Community Initiative, launched by the Council for a Healthier Community in 2006, is pleased to announce that 7 new groups have signed on as "Vision 2020 Champions" during June and July, including: the Cheshire County Conservation District, Kelley's Cause, the Keene State College President's Commission for the Promotion of Wellness, the Keene Lions Club, Walk Away Your Troubles, Filtrine Manufacturing Company, and the Monadnock Region Transportation Management Association. Since kicking off the Organizational Champions program at an event in March 2012, 40 local groups are working together to live in the healthiest community in the nation.

Organizational Champions are community organizations, schools, businesses and clubs who promote social connection and activity in support of healthy lifestyle behaviors like eating 5 or more fruits and vegetables per day and being physically active for at least 30 minutes each day. "Champions agree to take their next healthy step to live, share, model and inspire the lifestyle behaviors needed to improve the health of everyone in Cheshire County," says Linda Rubin, Director, Healthy Community Initiative.

The Keene Lions Club learned about the program through a Vision 2020 presentation at one of their club meetings, were inspired by the vision, and decided to sign up as Champions. According to Ms. Rubin, Organizational Champions support their members, staff and community to take their next healthy step by offering education and wellness activities, and adopting policies that support healthy eating, active living, and the social factors that affect health including income and education. 

"Club members are more conscious of their own health behaviors, since our club became a Champion," says Keene Lions club member, Christine Greenwood. "While eyesight preservation continues to be the primary focus of our charitable giving, we know that improving the food we eat and being more physically active will improve our overall quality of life."  

The Monadnock Region Transportation Management Association (MRTMA) is helping communities join a national movement to complete the streets in their cities and towns making them safer, more livable, and welcoming to bicyclists, public transportation vehicles and riders, and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.

"As part of our recently created action plan (available at www.monadnocktma.org)", says JB Mack, MRTMA coalition member, "we have adopted objectives and strategies that align with Vision 2020's plan to increase physical activity by making it easier for people to walk and bike as part of their daily routine.  Instead of making time to exercise, we hope more people will reach their physical activity goals by walking and biking to common destinations such as work, school, shopping, or visiting friends and family.  In many parts of our region, that will require improvements to our roadways as well as encouragement and support."

The Healthiest Community Initiative is funded by the Cheshire Health Foundation and is designed to actively engage the citizens of Cheshire County in the journey to become the nation's healthiest community by 2020. The Champions program's emphasis is on encouraging individuals and groups to take greater responsibility for all aspects of their health and the health of friends, family, co-workers, neighbors and the larger community. Among the many goals of the Healthiest Community Initiative is an evolution of the local health care system to allow an increased focus on disease prevention and maintaining good health.  For more information about the Healthiest Community Initiative, to view the current list of Vision 2020 Organizational Champions and to become a Champion, please visit, www.healthiestcommunity.org or call (603) 354-5454 ext 2322.

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