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January 27, 2013

New group looks to reverse Clark County health trends

JEFFERSONVILLE — Indiana ranked as the 41st-healthiest state in 2012. And within the state, Clark County ranked at 53 out of 92 counties in terms of health. 

The rankings, from americashealthrankings.org and countyhealthrankings.org, respectively place the region as one of the more unhealthy places in the country. But a group of community leaders is trying to change that.

Growing Healthy Lives Clark County is a community health initiative being funded by a $75,000 grant from the Center for Disease Control. Ultimately, the goal is to empower the community to make healthy changes in their lives.

 

HOW IT STARTED 

Pioneering Healthier Communities was launched in conjunction with the YMCA, the CDC and local partners in 2004. While the YMCA still serves as a channel of access to the local community, it is not the driver of the initiative.

Clark County’s initiative has paired the YMCA with Clark County’s Health Department, Greater Clark County Schools, Clark Memorial Hospital and area municipalities, along with local business and community leaders. The involvement of a host of organizations is designed to ensure a collaboration that reverses unhealthy lifestyle trends through a variety of means.

Dennis Enix, executive director of the Clark County YMCA and co-chair of the Growing Healthy Lives Clark County committee, said for his organization the goal serves to refocus on all aspects of living a healthy life.

“The Y for many years kind of lost its way and rented time on treadmills and rented time in their swimming pools,” he said. “During that time, the community as a whole was not getting any healthier.”

To ensure they are addressing the community’s needs as a whole, health organizations like the YMCA are looking to tie into plans that are under way that serve the region’s public.

 

PLANS IN PLACE

“One of the major things was this Big Four pedestrian bridge,” Enix said of local projects. “That was going to be dumping bicylcers and walkers into Jeffersonville without much strategy on what’s going to happen with those bikers and walkers, so we started working with the city ... and started having those conversations with them.”

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