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ACHIEVE group still working to boost area health

April 1, 2011
By JOHANNA BOYLE Journal Ishpeming Bureau , The Mining Journal

MARQUETTE - A little more than a year ago Marquette County saw its first set of County Health Rankings. Shortly after that, a group of representatives from various county organizations and municipalities traveled to San Diego to take part in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ACHIEVE conference.

That group, which has grown to include more than its original 10 members who traveled to San Diego, is still going strong, working to help enact policy and environmental change that will have a positive, long-lasting impact on the health of Marquette County.

Through surveying area municipalities, community organizations, worksites, health care organizations and schools, the team has been working toward identifying specific goals to help the county improve the health of its residents.

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When they first assembled, the ACHIEVE team decided to work to make the healthy choice the easy choice, said Lisa Coombs-Gerou, team co-leader and CEO of the YMCA of Marquette County.

Between looking at helping employers put in incentives and opportunities for employees to exercise, getting people to eat more fruits and vegetables, to setting up a county-wide health care system that focuses on chronic disease by 2013 to reducing the county's obesity rate, the team is focusing on long-lasting policies rather than short-lived programs.

The team has also been working to help encourage implementation of hoop houses at local schools and the Safe Routes to School programs in seven area schools to encourage kids to walk to classes.

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In addition to updating the community, the team must also make regular updates to the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, which provided the funding for the team to attend the initial ACHIEVE conference.

Johanna Boyle can be reached at 906-486-4401. Her email address is



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