Healthy living policies gain weight

May 5, 2012 by  

More community leaders in Beverly are getting behind an initiative to develop specific policies to promote healthy lifestyles in the community.

Since the YMCA in Beverly received a Pioneering Healthier Communities Grant of $64,000 last fall, it has partnered with the local hospital and recruited local organizations and high profile residents of Beverly to write policy around healthy living. Those community leaders include Jerry Parisella, Massachusetts state representative; the mayor of Beverly, Bill Scanlon; Tina Cassidy, a planner with the City, Paul Guanci, president of city council, plus school, parks and recreation representatives and representatives from the Beverly Chamber of Commerce, just to name a few.

The grant is to be used over a three-year period. The YMCA in Beverly was one of only 10 groups nationwide to receive a grant, which is to be used to create and carry out new policies in schools and other public entities to create sustainable changes in lifestyles.

Those changes could include increasing gym time in schools or constructing recreation facilities such as bike trails. All new policies to emerge from this initiative will require promotion, and print companies could realize new business in the production of flyers, post cards, brochures and posters promoting new initiatives in the community.

Those involved in policy implementation have consulted with community leaders in Kansas City to learn about successes in other municipalities who have received grants. They returned with a variety of ideas, such as working with local restaurants to state nutritional values on menus or asking grocers to make fresh produce affordable for low-income Americans.