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School, community partnership promotes health for everyone

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By Deidre Wilson

Desires for a healthier lifestyle top every list of the most common new year’s resolutions.

Unfortunately, most people abandon their new year’s resolutions by the second week of February.

“We all set new year’s resolutions, but how many of us keep them? Do we know how to make goals? Do we know how to keep goals? Do we know the importance of making health a priority not just for individuals but for families? Because that’s where it starts,” said Dana Mesa, Coordinated School Health director for Campbell County Schools.

Campbell County Schools has partnered with community leaders to launch the “Beary Healthy” campaign to help improve health across all of Campbell County.

There will be a kickoff event on Jan. 26 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in the Food City parking lot.

Participants will have a chance to register for door prizes that include things such as gift certificates to restaurants and personal training sessions.

Health screenings will be available.

Experts in the health and nutrition field will share their knowledge, and motivational speakers will share their own health and wellness success stories.

Kids will get an opportunity to meet the Campbell County Beary Healthy mascot.

Most importantly, there will be an opportunity to engage in a little physical activity.

At 10:30 a.m., members of the community can walk with the county and city mayors as well as other city and county officials.

Campbell County Mayor E.L. Morton is excited to participate and share his own personal story.

“I’ve recently started working on my personal health and lost 30 pounds since election day. We’re going to keep on doing that and try to set a good example,” Morton said.

“It takes a lot of hard work, and Dana’s the kind of hard worker that can put something like this together and follow through for years to come.”

Morton said he thinks Food City will be a good community partner to promote good nutrition.

“I think it’s something that will grow from here, and we need it to grow,” Morton said.

“It’s also good timing. We’re always continuing to expand Campbell County parks. At Lonas Young Park, we’ve got some workout stations to install. We’re expanding access to the lake all the time, so healthy choices and healthy activities are what we’re looking for.

“You’ve got the county commission members that are energized right now to improve all of our playground equipment and those sorts of things. I think Dana is right on time with a good message.”

Mesa hopes the involvement of community leaders will inspire others to follow and create a countywide support system for improved health.

“New year’s resolutions go away, but we want to keep this more of a movement and a community effort than a one-time event, and I strongly believe we can do that,” Mesa said.

“I don’t want to give the impression that it’s just me doing this. It’s going to take many people. There are many people in this community doing great things for health and wellness.”

Campbell County ranks at the bottom of the list when it comes to health.

According to data from the Tennessee Department of Health, out of 95 counties, Campbell County ranks 84th for public school students measured as overweight or obese, 86th in quality of life and 83rd in health behaviors.

“I don’t want to bring focus to the negative numbers but just to remind people that we can do better, and it takes the community coming together to make sure everyone does better, that we hold each other accountable,” Mesa said.

She also wants to list resources, such as classes that promote health, on the Coordinated School Health page of the Campbell County Schools website.

If anyone has events or classes they would like promoted on the website, contact dana.mesa@ccpstn.net.