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Wellness initiative moving closer to kickoff

The philosophy of the Lawrence County Wellness Initiative is simple: Set goals and record progress.

The Live Healthy, Live Well Spring Wellness Challenge, which is co-sponsored by Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital, Ironton aLive and the Ohio State University Extension, is a six-week program that begins April 7 and lasts until May 18.

The rollout events will be at noon on March 21 at Ohio university Southern’s Proctorville Center and noon on April 2 in the Caucus Room at OUS in Ironton.

“We didn’t want to do the rollout events so early that people would forget but we wanted to allow them enough time to sign up,” Diva Justice, OLBH director of community health initiatives, said. “After the challenge begins we would also like to have 30-minute lunch-and-learns so participants can have face-to-face interaction with our health professionals.”

Justice is organizing the event with OSU Extension agent Dan Remley and it was made possible by the approval of a Mission Fund Grant.

“The goal is to get businesses on board,” Justice said. “Once they are signed up we hope they continue on to the fall wellness plan and the winter no-gain plan. The lunch-and-learns will also be used as an opportunity for businesses that have signed up to work more on planning and wellness consulting.”

The planning and consulting aspect, Justice said, is when a health care professional goes into a business and coordinates with its human resources department on wellness initiatives.

“That resource will be nice for businesses — especially small businesses — who do not have someone in-house to do that sort of thing,” Justice said.

OLBH occupational medicine employee Mike Wirzfeld said he has already been touting the initiative around Lawrence County.

“I’ve been spreading the word to a couple of businesses and other entities in Ironton promoting a wellness program,” Wirzfeld said. “We are eager to work in cooperation with them.”

Individuals are also encouraged to enroll in the program, Justice said, and the Greater Lawrence County Area Chamber of Commerce and Ironton aLive will send an enrollment flyer to all members via email within the next week.

“Signing up and participating is very easy,” Remley said. “There will be a link inside the email that you can click and the whole process is electronic. 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.”

Lawrence County OSU Extension Director Treva Williams said prizes include things such as water bottles, tote bags, gym memberships, pedometers and healthy cookbooks. All Lawrence County residents who sign up for the challenge are eligible to win prizes.

Local vendors and organizations will have informational booths at the rollout events. For more information or to enroll in the challenge, email Remley at remley4@osu.edu.

The program has 4,000 participants across Ohio.