Garfield County awarded for heathy efforts

Garfield County has received the first statewide award recognizing efforts to promote health and wellness in the places people work, live and play.

Garfield County received the Governor’s Healthy Community Award presented by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade and LiveWell Colorado. The county received $2,000 contributed by Rocky Mountain Health Plans to continue working on community wellness efforts.

Garfield County was recognized for its focus on disease prevention through healthy eating, active living and health equity. The county embraced health and wellness as an economic driver by creating a cultural demand for healthy lifestyles, supporting local farmers and expanding bike and pedestrian infrastructure — especially in areas with limited public transit and poor connectivity.

“Providing equal access to healthy eating, active living and workplace wellness to all Coloradans is important for our communities and to our economy,” said Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. “The leadership and residents of Garfield County have worked hard to develop a comprehensive approach to health and wellness that addresses health disparities and leverages partnerships to reach their entire community. I am thrilled to congratulate Garfield County as the winner of the 2017 Healthy Community Award.”

Garfield County worked with dozens of organizations to provide resources and improve access to healthy lifestyle options so all residents have access to healthy lifestyle options that also support the local economy, said Dana Wood, coordinator of the Garfield Healthy Communities Coalition. “Our strong community collaboration across school districts, hospitals, businesses, public safety, education, public health and nonprofits drive us to overcome health barriers to reach our goals and better our community.”

Garfield County also worked with Cultivando, a leadership and advocacy group from Commerce City, to offer a leadership program in Spanish to train bilingual public health workers. Cultivando also conducted a four-day leadership training in which participants learned about the basics of healthy living and taking control of their health and the health of their families.

Other health interventions assisted families with children, including policy changes in school districts and a mobile school lunch program that provides nutritious foods and fresh fruits and vegetables to schools with high free and reduced lunch populations.

“Garfield County’s health efforts have shifted to an offensive approach by motivating people to change their lifestyles for the better. This influences a healthier work force and healthier education system, which contributes to a healthier community.” said Garfield County Commissioner Tom Jankovsky.