NEBRASKA JOINS NATIONAL EFFORTS TO ENCOURAGE WALKING

Superior, NE, September 9, 2015 – Taking a walk is such an easy thing to do, but many people will say they can’t find the time, it’s not safe in their neighborhood, or it leads to nowhere. Six local health departments across the state are working together to address barriers, such as infrastructure, improve worksite wellness programs, form walking clubs or encourage residents to explore the trails system.

“Our goal is to raise awareness about the health benefits of walking, to help communities in their efforts to become more ‘walkable’, and to support community improvements that encourage physical activity in general,” said Michele Bever, executive director for South Heartland District Health Department.

The collective efforts of local health departments, which began earlier this year, support the U.S. Surgeon General’s report to get Americans moving. With less than 48% of American getting the recommended amount of physical activity, Bever said walking is a simple way to get started.

Each of the six local health departments has identified communities to begin pilot programs. With support from DHHS and local “champions”, each city will design a tailored initiative that will work in their community and integrate with the statewide effort. The six heath departments are:

· Central District Health Department – will focus on Grand Island

· Douglas County Health Department – will focus on Omaha

· Two Rivers Health Department – will focus on Lexington

· Panhandle Health Department – will focus on Sidney

· Public Health Solutions – will focus on Hebron

· South Heartland Health Department – will focus on Superior

“It’s exciting that the community of Superior is joining the national effort and collaborating with local residents and with the health department to identify local approaches for increasing physical activity opportunities,” said Brooke Wolfe, wellness coordinator for South Heartland District Health Department.

Each community is planning a citywide “walking summit” to engage and learn residents’ ideas about how their city can incorporate environmental design and efforts to support and encourage more walking. After all, simply walking can promote community connection, fuel the brain and make sure Nebraskans stay healthy.

“Superior now has a community design team that is planning a walking summit for our community on November 7th,” said Karen Tinkham, design team member. “Anyone interested in participating in the summit or learning how they can be involved may contact me at Brodstone Memorial Hospital.”

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Michele M. Bever, PhD, MPH
Executive Director

South Heartland District Health Department
606 N. Minnesota Ave, Suite 2
Hastings, NE 68901
Office 402-462-6211 | Toll Free 1-877-238-7595
Fax 402-462-6219
e-mail: michele.bever@shdhd.org
Website: www.southheartlandhealth.org

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