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California City Solutions: Live Healthy Dublin Empowers Residents and Creates Better Quality of Life

September 4, 2015
This story is part of an ongoing series featuring Helen Putnam Award entries.
 
The 2014 entries are available on the League’s website as a resource for cities in a searchable database called California City Solutions. Live Healthy Dublin was submitted in 2014 for the Health and Wellness Programs award category.
 
The city of Dublin’s Parks and Community Services Department began providing a health and fitness program in spring 2013 to motivate its community to live healthy. This led the Dublin City Council to create a healthy living initiative that encompasses events and opportunities for residents to engage in healthy eating, fitness and fun competitions. Each spring, the annual Live Healthy event creates teams to bring residents together and challenge each other to eat better, get active and lose weight.
 
The Dublin City Council prioritized healthy lifestyles and wellness issues for the community in 2012. In response to the national obesity epidemic, the council crafted an initiative to increase the health and quality of life for all Dublin residents. City staff also developed a program to engage the community (youth, residents, businesses), while making use of the cities amenities — numerous parks and trails; fitness classes and activities; and many health options in town. The city council also recognized that socialization is a contributing factor in an individual’s physical fitness success. Having a support network of people to cheer participants on, hold them accountable, and support them in meeting goals is very motivating.
 
The Parks and Community Services Department partnered with a nationwide, team-centric, online wellness firm to create the Live Healthy Dublin program to motivate, educate, and empower its residents to have healthier lifestyles. Through the 10 Week Wellness Challenge, residents formed teams of two to 10 participants to work together on fitness goals. Sponsorships from ValleyCare Health System and Kaiser Permanente enabled the city to offer the program for just $5 per person. Participants received a training t-shirt, subscription to a fitness/lifestyle magazine and online access to helpful related resources. They recorded weight loss and their daily physical activity minutes. By joining up with friends, family members, neighbors, and co-workers, the program successfully helped people meet mutually-beneficial goals.
 
City staff promoted the program through the local school district, as well as many locally based business corporations. The challenge featured 486 participants, devising 102 teams. To allow teams to jump-start their physical activity, the program kicked off at the City of Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Day Festival and annual “Shamrock 5K Fun Run/Walk.” Throughout the 10 weeks, participants were also invited to attend workshops or health clinics produced by some of the city’s health-related businesses, including Koko FitClub, the Fit Potato, Get Fit Yoga, Jazzercise, Rockin’ Jump, and Trail Trekkers. The event concluded with an awards ceremony at the end of May, celebrating the teams who achieved the greatest weight loss and spent the most time in physical activity.
 
Participants lost more than 578 pounds total with the top 25 teams spending more than 30 hours in physical activity per team member. Challenge organizers sent a survey to the participants following the 10 Week Wellness Challenge. Eighty-nine percent of respondents reported that they achieved at least some of their goals; 83 percent found the team aspect of the challenge to be helpful in becoming healthier; while 72 percent found that the personal website was helpful in their journey to achieve better health. At a city-sponsored event in 2014, a 2013 participant reported that she began her fitness and weight loss journey with the Live Healthy Dublin “10 Week Wellness Challenge” and she has since lost 85 pounds.


 
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