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October 27, 2012

Chamber eyeing Healthy Huntsville-esque initiative

After seeing the recent success of the nearby Healthy Huntsville initiative, chamber officials say they would like to launch a similar program if enough community support rallies around the concept.

The program, which ran through much of 2012, was an obesity awareness program that featured 5K runs, lectures and cooking demonstrations to raise awareness about the benefits of exercise and eating healthy.

Healthy Huntsville spokesperson Kevin Ready was the guest speaker at the Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce meeting Friday, and offered some tips on how the event came together in Madison County.

“Community leaders and business leaders all came together and said ‘What can we do to combat obesity?’ This is really a partnership to get people involved,” Ready said. “Once it was going we couldn’t really keep up with the amount of people wanting to be involved, it’s been great.”

When asked how local volunteers could go about launching a similar project, Ready encouraged the chamber to partner with partners who are excited to work on the issue.

“Start with what’s already being done, partner with enthusiastic people, and grow and adapt one step at a time,” he said. “Getting the word out is really the first key to success. If there’s one thing we could have done better, it would be getting the word out ahead of time.”

Interim chamber president Leah Bolin said preliminary work is already underway within the chamber, and she would love to see locals launch a community health initiative in the coming months.

“This is something we’d like to initiate, not exactly the same, but similar,” she said. “We all want to get our community healthy and together we could accomplish that.”

* Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at trentm@cullmantimes.com, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 220.

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