FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Date: January 31, 2013
Contact: Released by: Lora Whalen, Director
Public Information Officer
(208) 818-7288 (cell)
Guide to healthy opportunities in Post Falls due out this summer
Participating in fun, outdoor activities in the Post Falls area will become easier this summer with the publication of a free guide to local trails, parks, geocaching areas, fields and much more.
The Post Falls Healthy Living Guide will steer the public to recreational opportunities, health care resources and healthy eating sites with the intention of making the city a healthier place to live.
The project is the brainchild of a community committee the Panhandle Health District formed a year ago under its Idaho Physical Activity and Nutrition program. Whitney Fehringer, a PHD health educator, coordinates the Post Falls project.
“This is the exciting part now,” said Mark Woodworth, a benefits consultant with Helbling Benefits and a committee member. “The ideas were really flowing at the last meeting.”
The Healthy Living Guide is the result of a yearlong program to assess how well Post Falls supports healthy living. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Healthy Communities Program created the assessment tool that guided the Post Falls team through gathering and analyzing data to building a community action plan.The Post Falls team included representatives of the city and police
department, city Parks and Recreation department, Post Falls School District, Sky Prairie Church, Dirne Community Health Center, Helbling Benefits and PHD.
The group divided up to collect data from schools, health care, worksites, community organizations and the community at large. They asked about walking and biking routes, access to public transportation, access to farmers’ markets, community gardens, rights of women to breastfeed in public, tobacco-free policies and tobacco ad bans.
The assessment included questions about obesity education programs and chronic disease self-management, community involvement in financing parks, trails and sports facilities, businesses with wellness committees, facilities that encourage the use of stairs and much more.
After analyzing the data, the team determined that Post Falls promotes an active lifestyle. The strengths that stood out included maintenance of public parks, public safety, water quality, tobacco-free campuses, community gardens and agreements for shared use of many facilities.
Other strengths included various agencies working together, worksites reimbursing health club activities, and healthy nutrition and cafeteria policies at health care sites.
A referral system to community resources was among the needs the team identified for the city. PHD teamed with the Dirne Community Health Center to win a grant from the Idaho Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program that will enable the team to produce the Post Falls Healthy Living Guide.
“It’ll include walks with various distances marked. We’re calling them prescription walks—walks health care providers can prescribe,” Fehringer said. “Overall, we’re hoping the guide will help the community by making it easier to make healthy choices.”
The team will prepare the guides for distribution this summer. Ideally, the Post Falls team will continue working on the community’s healthy living opportunities after the guide is published. Fehringer will start the same community assessment process in Shoshone County in March.
“We’re pretty excited now. Everything we did makes perfect sense,” Woodworth said. “We totally buy into this project now. It brought us together.”