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RYAN: Make a commitment today to live healthy

Kim Ryan

Kim Ryan

As someone who has spent their entire career in health care, I know that people can significantly reduce their risk for developing chronic diseases by making simple lifestyle changes: eating healthy, increasing activity and reducing stress.

Earlier this week, Eastside Medical Center and Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation announced a partnership, Live Healthy Gwinnett, to encourage and engage every Gwinnett County resident to invest in their personal wellness.

According to a 2013 report from the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), Georgia ranked the 20th most obese state, with a 26 percent rate for adults in Gwinnett County. The 2013 Gwinnett County Health Department Community Health Assessment states, “Gwinnett’s current obesity rate of 26 percent places a quarter of the adult population at higher risk for serious conditions like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, osteoarthritis, respiratory problems and stroke.”

Live Healthy Gwinnett combines clinical expertise from Eastside Medical Center physicians and staff along with wellness recommendations and activities offered by Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation. The program focuses on four overall wellness areas: Be Active, Eat Healthy, Get Checked and Be Positive.

Making the commitment to live a healthier lifestyle is fairly easy. To begin:

• Make the pledge to live healthy. Go to www.livehealthygwinnett.com and commit.

• Consider steps you can take to change your own lifestyle or those of friends and family members. Ask yourself, what can I do to change what I do every day so that I’m living a healthier life? How can I encourage others that I care about to join with me? Will you ask them to take the pledge, too?

• The Live Healthy Gwinnett program offers many options that can fit easily into daily life. Look at the website to see many activities planned (and more are being added every day), and identify ways that you can begin to live healthy.

• On Saturday, April 26, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., we are offering a free, family-friendly event at Eastside Medical Center to include a variety of fitness classes, music, free medical screenings, giveaways, inflatables and fun activities for all ages. Activities range from yoga and life-sized chess games to a rock wall and healthy cooking demonstrations. Again, this is a free event open to everyone.

• The evening before, on April 25 at 8 p.m., we are hosting 1, 2, 3K Glow and Show, with on-site registration beginning at 7 p.m. The event includes a 3K glow in the dark fun walk/run at Alexander Park and a free movie, “Frozen.” All proceeds will support the Live Healthy Gwinnett scholarship fund, through the Gwinnett Parks Foundation, which will offer assistance to citizens who cannot afford classes, programs and/or activities.

Throughout the year, we will offer many opportunities and activities to reinforce your commitment to live healthier.

This initiative allows individuals in the community to live to play and play to live. Live Healthy Gwinnett encourages the community to combat health issues by combining physical activities with counseling from professional physicians and staff.

Live Healthy Gwinnett has something to offer every Gwinnett resident. Now is the time for all of us to make the personal commitment and encourage these lifestyle changes to help make Gwinnett County the healthiest in the state.

Kim Ryan is CEO of Eastside Medical Center.