Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

County Launches Program Aimed at Reducing Obesity

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

County Launches Program Aimed at Reducing Obesity

Article excerpt

Pittsburgh seems healthier than Buffalo, N.Y., according to Hunter McCarthy, an Empire State native who arrived in town in August and joined the Downtown YMCA in September.

But that doesn't mean Allegheny County residents can't use some help in getting in shape, said Ms. McCarthy, who was stepping onto a workout machine Tuesday afternoon as Allegheny County officials gathered at the Downtown Y to launch a new wellness and fitness program aimed at reducing high local levels of adult and childhood obesity.

The program, called "Live Well Allegheny," will be administered by the Allegheny County Health Department and promote healthy lifestyles, nutrition and physical activity through partnerships with existing health and wellness organizations.

"Yes, it's a good idea," said Ms. McCarthy, an Art Institute of Pittsburgh student who works out five or six days a week. "Everyone should work out and stay healthy. It makes for a better life."

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said at the news conference that the county recognizes that obesity is a problem and wants to do what it can to "stimulate our community to make better decisions for the health and well-being of all of our residents."

Karen Hacker, county Health Department director, said the new program, which has no dedicated funding, will serve as an umbrella under which existing health programs and activities will be coordinated, promoted, targeted and expanded.

"As the Health Department director, my focus and interest is obviously going to be on our residents' physical health, so this campaign will speak directly to the need for more physical activity, eating right and being proactive in managing your health," Dr. Hacker said.

But because wellness includes things like personal and community safety, sustainability, quality of life, health education and nutrition, she said the program will also focus on coordination of those types of programs that are already offered. …

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