Foundation for Healthy Communities' HEAL Program now in Laconia (1/16/13)

Foundation for Healthy Communities' HEAL Program now in Laconia

South end residents talk healthy living



LACONIA — In an effort that Mayor Mike Seymour said he'd like replicated citywide, residents of the South End and the neighbors of Wyatt Park turned out Tuesday evening to begin exploring ways of breaking down barriers to healthy living and active living.

Sponsored by the Laconia Parks and Recreation Department and Lakes Region Healthy Eating Active Living, which is a part of the nationwide HEAL program, the event attracted some two dozen attendees to the Woodland Heights Elementary School, among them Seymour, who worked through five exercises designed to "identify opportunities to support access to healthy foods and safe, physical activity" in the area served by Woodland Heights School.

In 2012, the city received a two-part HEAL grant, the first of which is $10,000 in cash while the second is $60,000 worth of training and technical assistance over the two-year grant period.

According to HEAL, the grants are intended to "help communities identify and implement municipal strategies — such as adding bike paths, sidewalks, and farmers markets — to provide more choices for residents to eat healthy and be physically active. Special consideration was given to rural towns and urban neighborhoods with health, social, and economic disparities (factors that lead to higher incidences of obesity and chronic diseases)."

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