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Fixin' Healthcare

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Lifestyle Chronicles - Community Health Challenge

A healthy lifestyle consists of a few key behaviors that yield a large and growing list of benefits. Finland, first through the North Karelia Project and then through a nation-wide initiative, demonstrated that public health intervention prevents chronic disease and extends life expectancy. World Health Organization programs have made it possible for other countries to benefit from Finland's experience. In 1999 a community of interested parties that includes Mayo Clinic in Olmsted County, MN adapted Finland's experience and launched CardioVision 2020. CardioVision 2020 advocates personal commitment and community action as the most effective and least costly means to optimize health.

Subsequently, a consortium of Greenville, SC community organizations issued a challenge to CardioVision 2020 and Olmsted County on behalf of Greenville County to determine who can produce the most improvement in community health status by the year 2020. The challenge was accepted and CardioVision 2020 versus Healthy Greenville formally began in January 2004. The contrasts and commonalities will generate learning opportunities for any community that wishes to join the challenge. The members of the consortium are:

City of Greenville
Furman University
Greater Greenville Chamber of Commerce
Greenville Technical Education College
School District of Greenville County
The Greenville News

Healthy Greenville is a public health intervention project with the purpose of improving the health status of Greenville County citizens by altering health behavior. There are many broad and complex factors contributing to health status of populations but the message of Healthy Greenville is not complex. Everyone can grasp the message and it can be mastered to varying degree but only with personal commitment and community action. Motivation, inspiration and innovation will determine the degree to which the community masters the message but the message is constant. Practicing the message in everyday life will improve health. The message is:

1. Cease exposure to cigarette smoke.
2. Eat a balanced diet that includes five servings of vegetables and fruit daily, lean meat or
vegetable protein and low fat dairy, drink water, tea and lemonade and avoid sodas, and no
highly processed food.
3. Daily physical activity with a goal of walking 10,000 steps.

The objectives of the planning process are:

1. To stimulate and promote ideas that relate to the issue of health promotion and disease prevention.
2. To recruit the interest of all existing resources in the county.
3. To link and coordinate existing resources for the purpose of health promotion and disease prevention.
4. To establish and maintain a horizontal and decentralized functionality.
5. To avoid the development of unnecessary overhead and expenses.
6. To establish a seamless transition between planning and implementation.
7. To create a free flow of information so that all may learn from every effort.
8. To create momentum for a process that will never end.

Initial programs are designed to establish a base with children and young adults and link that base to health promotion initiated within corporations and other community organizations.

Healthy Greenville is a component of Healthy SC, a health challenge initiative with the mission to improve health status throughout the state - www.healthysc.gov

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