Program challenging community to get healthy

Published 11:24 am Friday, February 7, 2014

THE TRIBUNE/JESSICA ST JAMES (ABOVE) Community members gather at the River Hills Community Center to discuss the 2014 Spring Fitness Challenge.

(ABOVE) Community members gather at the River Hills Community Center to discuss the 2014 Spring Fitness Challenge.

A joint effort by Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital, the Ohio State University Extension Office and Ironton aLive is challenging the Lawrence County business community to get healthy.

OLBH received funding through its Healthy Community Initiatives Program to sponsor a wellness event and work with OSU Extension to bring programs to Lawrence County. A meeting was held at River Hills Community Center on Thursday and OLBH Director of Community Health Initiatives Diva Justice and OSU Extension agent Dan Remley discussed their plans with people from a variety of agencies and organizations.

“It’s called the Live Healthy, Live Well Spring Wellness Challenge,” Remley said. “It’s a program being participated in by businesses all over Ohio.”

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The six-week challenge takes place April 7 to May 18 and is free for any adult with an email account. Participants will receive two weekly educational health-related emails, a tracking log to document progress, membership to the program’s Facebook page for group interaction and become eligible for weekly wellness and fitness prizes.

Similar challenges will take place in the fall and winter.

“We would like to have a kickoff event for participating businesses,” Justice said. “We just received this year’s grant funding and money is in place for a roll-out event in Ironton.”

OLBH targeted Ironton and Lawrence County as the area where the grant money would be invested. Funds from the three-year program have been spent on developing Lawrence County’s first community garden, supporting the rebirth of the Ironton Farmers Market, participating in the Dave Lucas-led Lawrence County Healthy Initiative Program, providing funding for a summer youth day camp and afterschool tutoring at the community center.

The Live Healthy, Live Well Spring Wellness Challenge is email based and participants will be provided a one-sheet fitness log where physical activity and other health-related goals can be documented. The goal is 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week and one other suggested behavior such as filling a plate with half vegetables or fruit, less caffeine intake, unplugging electronics, packing a healthy snack, reducing stress and cooking a healthier recipe. Justice suggested eating local food and sleep behaviors as well.

“Unplugging is a tough one,” Remley said. “ I got an iPhone for Christmas and I’m addicted to it. Unplugging means once you get home don’t watch TV, don’t use a computer and turn off your cell phone.”

Dr. Dave Lucas, a professor at Ohio University Southern, is also a Scoutmaster. He said electronics are not permitted on his troops’ camping trips and Viviane Vallance has similar rules for her classes when she works as a personal trainer.

“I have a no cell phone policy in the classes I teach,” she said. “Adults are as bad as the children from what I have experienced.”

For more information or to enroll in the challenge, email Remley at

The program has 4,000 participants across Ohio.