Be Well Barton County, a advisory group dedicated to promoting healthy lifestyles countywide, has been awarded an implementation grant through the Kansas Health Foundation’s Healthy Communities Initiative worth up to $75,000 over the next three years. Be Well, one of 12 grantees in the state to receive this funding, will use the funds in support Complete streets and Safe Routes to school, nationally recognized programs that encourage local governments to consider bicycle and pedestrian traffic when planning street and sidewalk improvements..
“We’ve been in the planning stage for a year now, and this money will go a long ways towards making these ideas become a reality,” said Linn Hogg, Be Well administrative coordinator. “We just want to get the word out that it only takes a few changes to make a big difference.”
It goes back to the group’s mission statement, she said. It reads “Inspire and advance policy, environmental and lifestyle changes that promote healthy living for all residents of Barton County.”
Hogg said the focus will be to educate officials about retrofitting existing streets and transportation routes to accommodate walking and bicycling for transportation and recreation, and to improve access to community destinations.
While it’s well known that proper nutrition and physical activity are connected to good health, healthy eating and active living can be challenging when healthy foods and physical activity opportunities are limited in availability and accessibility. The places where people live, learn, work and play influence the ability to maintain a healthy diet and complete the daily recommended amount of physical activity.
Prior to applying for the implementation funding, all 12 communities participated in a yearlong planning process, during which they were asked to develop community action plans and identify specific policy, systems and environmental changes that would have the greatest impact for Kansans in the areas of healthy eating and active living.
“Proper nutrition and regular physical activity are key components to lowering the risk of chronic disease and increasing overall health,” said Steve Coen, president and CEO of the Kansas Health Foundation. “Through this initiative, we’re excited to partner with organizations and communities across the state as they work to implement their plans meant to ensure that when it comes to healthy eating and active living for Kansans, the healthy choice is also the easy and accessible choice.”
Formed a year ago, Be Well Barton County is part of the Central Kansas Partnership, a prevention coalition of parents, professionals and concerned citizens from Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Stafford, and Rush Counties. In addition, the coalition deals with chronic diseases, drug and alcohol prevention, and teen pregnancy and suicide prevention.
Be Well is made up of volunteers from all over Barton County.
The Kansas Health Foundation is a private philanthropy based in Wichita, but statewide in its focus. Its mission is to improve the health of all Kansans. To learn more about the Foundation, please visit www.kansashealth.org.
For more information about Be Well Barton County’s efforts or to learn how you can participate, contact Sue Cooper at 620-792-3000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.