A prescription for a healthy lifestyle comes with many doses of Northern New York services.
Basic pointers of eat right, exercise and don’t let stress take over your life may be easier said than done, but agencies and organizations throughout Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties continue to evolve in offering guidance in achieving overall improved health.
What it takes to be healthy in 2013 already exists throughout the north country with a multitude of physical, mental and social health services.
It also takes more than one person, organization, idea or goal to improve the health of the entire population, according to Faith E. Lustik, health planner with the Jefferson County Public Health Service, Watertown.
“We’ve been working with partners on a variety of issues that affect policy and environmental change,” she said. “We designed a snack policy for schools and any youth organization. It’s a ready-made kit and outlines calorie contest you should limit snacks to.”
Jefferson County Public Health Service also is developing healthy fundraisers, because, she said, sending children out to sell a box of chocolates and other goods is conflicting with the message community agencies are trying to spread.
“We want to focus on kids because we can hopefully change the future and our statistics,” Ms. Lustik said. “When we’re working with kids, we’re really working with adults because they make decisions.”
Jefferson County Public Health Service is one of many agencies in Jefferson County participating in the Community Coalition for Children, which aims to fight obesity early on so it won’t cause health problems into adulthood. As part of those efforts, the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County received a $20,000 grant award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to survey Jefferson County residents and to help agencies address needs to improve access to fresh produce and expand physical activity programs for low-income families.
The communities-working-together concept has also been adopted in St. Lawrence County, where the Health Initiative has worked collaboratively to improve the health of St. Lawrence County residents and the region’s residents.
Health Initiative Executive Director Ruth A. Fishbeck said eating right and getting physical activity is the main message that won’t change, but the initiative has ways it’s trying to make that standard statement fresh and exciting. Last year, the agency launched FitPix, a program where it helps restaurants develop alternative, healthy food choices on their menus.
“Our goal of the project is to get more gluten-free and diabetic (diet) options,” she said.
While nutrition isn’t the only component, Page Fitness Athletic Club head trainer Jamie S. Wood said it’s most important.
Rebecca Madden is a Johnson Newspapers staff writer. Contact her at 661-2375 or email@example.com.