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Coalition speakers deliver health pitch to Ellsworth Chamber

Brandi Poellinger of River Falls Area Hospital was one of two speakers to discuss the Pierce County Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) coalition with members of the Ellsworth Chamber of Commerce Thursday. (Herald photos by Bill Kirk)1 / 2
Amy Hess, nutritionist with the Pierce County Public Health Department, was one of two HEAL speakers at Thursday’s local chamber of commerce meeting.2 / 2

How to reverse the trend toward more obesity in Pierce County was a message two speakers sent to the Ellsworth Chamber of Commerce Thursday.

Brandi Poellinger of River Falls Area Hospital and Amy Hess of the Pierce County Public Health Department discussed HEAL (the county’s Healthy Eating Active Living coalition). Poellinger announced a series of workshops on worksite wellness geared to educating employees.

The first, on Thursday, May 15, will focus on making healthy vending choices and promoting more physical activity, she said. The second, this August, is aimed at the advantages of breastfeeding over formula and the third, this November, has healthy menus and events as its topic.

Hess encouraged the public to sign up for the workshops, which she further detailed. They originated with a grant funding interviews, dialogues, surveys, photo-mapping and strategies about assessing the county’s assets and developing an improvement plan. Goals were determined, including meeting the need for support, improving nutrition and addressing breastfeeding. Everyone is welcome to lend their talents and skills to the upcoming sessions, intended to spur action.

Healthy vending is valued because the high sugar content in most vending machine items is presently contributing to deteriorated health, she said. Healthy thinking is important in this regard, advanced by sharing and communicating with each other what’s been tried, not only in the county but statewide and nationally. Healthy snacks need to be defined and changes made to end the present condition of being overfed but malnourished.

An emphasis should be on what employees can bring to work as healthier alternatives, she said. A “Rethink Your Drink” program suggests different choices can save calories. In conjunction with this, a pricing strategy for vending might be created, as might a policy about what’s offered in general.

For more please read the April 30 print version of the Herald. 

Bill Kirk

Bill Kirk was editor of the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth, from 1988 to February, 2015 and is now on staff as a reporter. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He previously worked in the media distribution department at the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus and is past editor of The Tri-County News in Osseo, Wisconsin.

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