Live Well Allegheny is a new initiative aimed at promoting health and wellness throughout Allegheny County.
The effort was launched Tuesday by Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, members of the county Board of Health and Health Department Director Karen Hacker.
Fitzgerald said while the Pittsburgh region ranks high on national lists for things such as livability and academia, it could also be a leader in healthy living.
“Live Well Allegheny campaign is a broad-based concept that incorporates the physical health, mental wellness and personal and community safety and improving the well-being of our community,” said Fitzgerald.
When it comes to health and wellness, Hacker said Pennsylvania isn’t faring so well. She said the commonwealth’s ranking in a national United Health Foundation study fell while the rate of obesity among adults rose from about 28 percent to 29 percent. Obesity rates in the county are also on the rise.
“According to our own Allegheny County health survey about 62 percent of our adults are either overweight or obese,” said Hacker, “and we know that about 30 percent of our children from K-12 are in those categories.”
Live Well Allegheny will build partnerships with organizations already working to improve health and wellness in the region such as health care institutions and health-focused non-profit organizations.
“It also means less-obvious partnerships that are also very important, for instance the local food movement and the development and protection of green spaces. They are usually thought of as sustainability issues we work on for the environmental benefit,” said Joylette Portlock, board of health member. “But addressing these issues and partnering with organizations that are doing so also gives us solutions like farmer’s markets and better parks and trails.”
Through the partnerships, the campaign will promote healthy activities in the region, including neighborhood walking tours and other events.
“There’s a lot going on,” Hacker said. “There’s already a tremendous number of resources being expended in this area county-wide and I think part of what we are trying to do is align them all so that we use them and are more efficient moving forward.”
A soon-to-be launched website, livewellallegheny.com, is expected to include information on health, wellness as well as lists of events and resources.