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Promoting active living in Hubbard County

Last week Hubbard County commissioners approved a resolution to promote active living as a cornerstone to enhancing the overall community.

Active Living is a region-wide approach developed in Bemidji in 2008 through the Headwaters Regional Development Commission.

A Strategic Plan was developed in partnership with the North Country Health Board through the Statewide Health Improvement Plan.

The plan entailed a list of goals Hubbard County health officials are embracing as keys to community survival and growth.

Community Health Director Rae Ann Mayer outlined the benefits, primarily SHIP money for prevention of chronic diseases, especially obesity.

Mayer, as former local SHIP coordinator, has worked with area health officials to promote environmental change that encompasses the workplace, schools, the communities and the health care system.

The efforts are coming to fruition.

Schoolchildren are eating locally grown foods, numerous school and community gardens have sprouted, a farm to school program is in the fledgling stages and bike racks at several locations are promoting physical activity.

Parks and trails projects are in progress, said Matthew Dyrdahl, a planner with HRDC.

The hope is to save $2 billion in health care costs in the state by 2014, Mayer told the board.

Healthier places to live promote economic development, safe and convenient connections to destinations and retail by improving the environment for pedestrians and bicyclists, the resolution states.

Next up are proposals to get more kids walking and biking to school by providing neighborhood safety monitors. These are called "walking school bus" initiatives.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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