The Tooele County Health Department has launched a new informational website to help local residents lose weight. The website, called Live Fit Tooele County, can be found at www.livefittc.org and was officially launched Jan. 9. The site was created to help reduce the county’s 30.7 percent obesity rate, which is the highest in Utah.
The site is a result of the health department’s five-year Community Health Improvement Plan, which identifies the county’s five main health problems as obesity, substance abuse, diabetes, lack of physical activity and inadequate access to health care.
The website, and the Live Fit Tooele County Coalition, addresses three of the five problems: obesity, lack of physical activity and diabetes.
The coalition, which was originally the health improvement plan’s Obesity and Physical Activity Subcommittee, is comprised of representatives from Tooele County, Tooele City, Grantsville City, Mountain West Medical Center, Tooele County Health Department, Tooele County Chamber of Commerce, Valley Mental Health, Tooele County School District, Department of Workforce Services, and local diabetes specialists, nutritionists, pharmacists, physician’s assistants and volunteers.
Maleana Toohey, health educator and obesity prevention coordinator for the health department, has been named the chair of the coalition. Debbie Winn, who will be sworn in as a Tooele City councilwoman on Jan. 16, has been asked to be the co-chair.
Currently, the motto “1 Bite, 1 Step, 1 Decision” is listed on the website. But Toohey said a small group of coalition members will get together to make sure this motto reflects the goals of the program. She said the group will also create a mission statement and vision for the program and website.
Although the website may still go through some changes over the next few days while bugs are worked out, it is available for use. The site includes several pages that have exercise and nutrition resources. Toohey said in the future, she’d also like to see local pictures of people exercising or doing healthy activities.
The site has a section that features success stories of local people who have lost weight through eating right and exercising, as well as a section that gives background on the coalition and the Community Health Improvement Plan.
Under the “Physical Fitness” tab, residents can find a listing of the exercise resources in the county, including local parks, hiking trails, free resources, gyms and classes.
Under the “Recipes” tab, 10 recipes per month will be listed. Toohey said dietitians from Mountain West Medical Center will look at each recipe before it’s posted to make sure it’s healthy.
Under the “Nutrition Resources” tab, a list of local nutrition classes and federal nutrition programs are listed, along with how to get involved in those programs.
Under the “Tips & Tools” tab, residents will find a list of other websites they can visit to find healthy recipes and exercise tips. Residents can also use the “Contact Us” tab to comment on the site, ask questions or request additional information.
Members of the coalition have also written articles on a variety of health topics. These articles appear on the site’s home page and will be changed monthly or seasonally, depending on the topic.
In conjunction with the newly launched website, a Facebook page has also been created. It is linked to the website or can be found by visiting Facebook. com and searching for “Live Fit Tooele County.”
Toohey said now that the site is launched, she will search for grants to keep the website and program funded. She also hopes that local businesses will want to get involved by donating cash or prizes for community competitions.
“We want to use the website as a place to engage residents,” Toohey said. “The health department doesn’t have a lot of extra money to run this coalition, so any businesses that want to donate cash or prizes for competitions would be really helpful.”
Toohey said although no competitions have been scheduled yet, the plan for the site is to hold monthly drawings. People who use the site to track their healthy changes will be entered into the drawing and can win prizes from businesses that agree to participate.
“For example, along the top of the website home page, there will be simple steps listed that people can take to be a little healthier, like to drink 64 ounces of water in a day,” Toohey said. “One example would be for people who complete a certain number of those tasks to be entered in a monthly drawing to win a prize from community businesses.”
In the spring, Toohey said the coalition plans to host a website kick-off event. She said this event has yet to be planned, but that it will be a place where community members can come with their families to learn about the program and website, and how they can get involved.
“I hope that this coalition just becomes a community-wide effort,” Toohey said. “I want people to want to go to the site and want to participate.”