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Public Health Week Challenges Locals To Get On Those Walking Shoes

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Sonora, CA – Across the country it is National Public Health Week. Locally, plans include enticing Tuolumne County residents to take up a community-wide Get Moving Challenge.

The local effort riffs off the American Public Health Association’s Get Moving program, which encourages people to get out and active in some way, with the aim of building folks up towards engaging in 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, five days a week.

Whether it is walking on a work break, doing some gardening, going for a swim, stroll or a short bike ride, health officials point out that every little bit does a body good.

Wednesday Walk Meet-up 

To that end, on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. public health staff is hosting a community walk-hike of Sonora’s Dragoon Gulch Trail that will lead off from the Woods Creek Park trailhead. Besides enjoying some fresh air and exercise at one of the county’s most popular recreation areas, folks will also be able to directly chat with onsite health staff about various public health ed programs.

“The walk that we are doing is our inspiration but we are doing it in conjunction with Public Health Week…we really want to bring awareness to the outdoor recreational areas that we have at our leisure to enjoy, which is really great,” notes Michelle Jachetta, a county health programs supervisor. She enthuses, “Having Dragoon Gulch Trail right in downtown Sonora is awesome, and again, we want to really encourage people to just get moving. You can walk on your breaks…right after work and you do not have to go far to get to an area in which to do that.”

By “get moving” Jachetta is also referring to the county’s Get Moving Challenge that the public health staff is sponsoring through the month of April. All residents are invited to get out someplace locally, and during their activity, snap images to share on social media that show the places and ways they stay active in Tuolumne County. To enter the challenge, which offers the opportunity to win a FitBit, click here.

Just Move Something

“You do not have to climb a mountain — it is about getting in little bit of activities, as you can,” Jachetta emphasizes. For more details on the walk, challenge or other programs, she says call 209 533-7401.

Jachetta adds that Public Health Week’s theme this year is Healthiest Nation 2030, backing a goal for the US, in one generation, to become the healthiest nation in the world. It is an ambitious one — since currently the U.S. is not even in the Top 20 of the Bloomberg 2017 Healthiest Country Index. The U.S. actually ranks in on that index at #34 with a health grade of just over 73 out of 100.

This is said to be primarily due to a prevalence of overweight people, which continues to beef up our reputation one of the world’s heaviest nations. Four of our country’s poorest states — Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and West Virginia — are heaviest with obese residents making up over a third of the populations, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control data.

The ten countries achieving the top grades this year, by the way, are (in descending order): Italy; Iceland; Switzerland; Singapore; Australia, Spain; Japan; Sweden; Israel; Luxembourg. Bloomberg reports that Italy, despite a challenged economy, enjoys an excess of doctors and healthier lifestyles that are olive-oil fueled by a diet further enriched with plenty of fresh produce, fruit, lean meats and fish.

County Health Needs, Goals

Locally, following a recent health assessment of Tuolumne County residents, a health group consortium convened, identified top priority areas for improvement and set some overarching community goals in place.

Chief among these, Jachetta states, is to successfully decrease the county’s chronic disease rate — which is the highest in the state — by inspiring the community to work together to  create rich and nourishing environments so that children will thrive and be healthy.

Other goals are to encourage and assist community residents to overcome their difficulties with substance abuse issues, as the county is keenly feeling what is also now a nationwide epidemic; and working to increase quality access to primary care providers, as the area is experiencing a critical shortage, as reported here.