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Introducing Healthy Choices Kentucky

Representatives from 26 area health, fitness and community organizations announced today the formation of Healthy Choices Kentucky, a consortium formed as a response to Eastern Kentucky’s high obesity rates. Today’s announcement also included notice of the coalition’s first public event, a health symposium to take place Thursday, Jan. 24 at Bellefonte Pavilion (2000 Ashland Drive, Russell).

The mission of Healthy Choices Kentucky is to collaborate to improve the health of residents of Boyd and Greenup counties. Healthy Choices Kentucky representatives have stated their overall goal is a three-year project aimed at obesity. The group intends to halt the rise of the BMI (Body Mass Index) average of Boyd and Greenup counties. A person with a BMI of 30 or greater is considered obese. Boyd County has an obesity rate of 32.3 percent and Greenup has a rate of 31.9 percent.

“As the obesity rates in our region continue to skyrocket, our group of stakeholders have come together to draw a line in the sand and say ‘no more’,” said Ashland mayor-elect Chuck Charles. “This coalition will halt the rise of obesity in Boyd and Greenup counties and then we intend to see that BMI rate begin to decrease. We have a unique mix of hospitals, health departments, fitness facilities, restaurants, grocers, educators, employers and other invested partners who share this common goal and will see that it is accomplished.”

The members of Healthy Choices Kentucky are:
•    Applebee’s Restaurant
•    Ashland Alliance
•    Ashland Area YMCA
•    Ashland Boyd County Health Department
•    Ashland Community and Technical College
•    Ashland Independent Schools
•    Ashland Kroger
•    Boyd County Extension Office
•    Boyd County Judge Executive
•    Boyd County Public Library
•    Boyd County Medical Alliance
•    City of Ashland
•    FIVCO
•    Greenup County Extension Office
•    Greenup County Health Department
•    Greenup County Judge Executive
•    Greenup County Schools
•    Highlands Museum and Discovery Center
•    Jim Fannin, Coach of Champions
•    Kentucky Heart Foundation/Healthy Kids Healthy Communities Coalition
•    Lawrence County Health & Wellness Initiative
•    Morehead State University
•    Ohio University Southern
•    Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital
•    River Cities Harvest
•    Russell Independent Schools

Healthy Choices Kentucky will promote nutrition and exercise as a way to a healthier life. “Obesity is our focus, but really the coalition is here to educate and promote any number of health initiatives that will improve the wellbeing of area residents,” Charles, said. “Our three year project to lower BMI rates is just the beginning of what Healthy Choices Kentucky will accomplish.”

As part of the announcement of the formation of Healthy Choices Kentucky, the collaborative’s first public event has been scheduled. Healthy Choices Kentucky will present a free health symposium Thursday, Jan. 24 at Bellefonte Pavilion (2000 Ashland Drive, Russell). The event is open to the public and will feature speakers, demonstrations and other educational opportunities. More information on the event will be forthcoming.

For more information concerning Healthy Choices Kentucky, contact Tim O’Toole at (606) 833-3515.

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