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Green Tree affirms commitment to healthy lifestyle

| Friday, July 1, 2016, 11:27 a.m.
Randy Jarosz | For the Tribune-Review
Jessica Smith of the WIC program informs John Bayer of Eighty Four about children’s health, during Green Tree’s Health & Wellness Fair at Green Tree Park. WIC, which stands for Women, Infants, and Children, is a federal program that provides grants to states to help women and children at nutritional risk.
Randy Jarosz | For the Tribune-Review
Marty and Kay Hungerman of Green Tree pick up some literature from St. Clair Hospital's display, during Green Tree's Health & Wellness Fair at Green Tree Park.
Randy Jarosz | For the Tribune-Review
Kelsey Kaplack, 6, of Green Tree touches a model tounge of a tobacco user, during Green Tree's Health & Wellness Fair at Green Tree Park.
Randy Jarosz | For the Tribune-Review
(from left) Jane Terlion, Mary Lou Pacella, both of Green Tree and Galen Hardy, 10, of Pittsburgh look on as Liz Gore of the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, demonstrates how to make a savory oatmeal, during Green Tree's Health & Wellness Fair at Green Tree Park.

Green Tree Council President Mark Sampogna admits it was not difficult for the borough to qualify for Allegheny County's Live Well Allegheny initiative.

With a walking track, parks, numerous recreation programs and a long-running farmer's market, many boxes on the county Health Department's checklist were already crossed off.

“Over 90 percent of the stuff we'd already done in the borough,” Sampogna said.

Borough officials aren't stopping there, however. More activities to promote healthy living are planned now that Green Tree officially has become the 25th member of the program, which was formed in January 2014 to improve the health and wellness of county residents.

Sampogna and Green Tree Mayor Edward Schenck were among the officials present at Green Tree Park on June 30, as the distinction was celebrated with a Health & Wellness Fair.

Organizations such as the American Diabetes Association and St. Clair Hospital offered health screenings, food demonstrations and information on how to live a healthy life.

Neighboring communities that also participate in Live Well Allegheny include Scott, Heidelberg, Collier and South Fayette.

Sampogna said council passed a resolution in April to join after learning more about the campaign.

“It's been a priority of mine because I think it's important that our residents live healthy lives and happy lives. This is just one more way to add to their quality of life in the borough.”

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Dr. Karen Hacker, director of the Health Department, officially recognized the borough as a Live Well community during the June 30 event.

Fitzgerald said Pittsburgh's economic health is improving but residents' physical health needs to keep pace.

“Things like this, where you build great recreational facilities for people to able to walk and exercise. ... Having a farmer's market come in where people can buy many healthy foods. Commonsense things we all learn growing up: No smoking, get off the couch once in a while and walk around. I always steal (Hacker's) line: ‘Sitting is the new smoking.'”

Hacker said her goal is to get 130 municipalities to join Live Well Allegheny. She said not all of the current participants are the wealthiest of communities.

“It really symbolizes to me that a lot of our communities are really eager to do these types of activities for their residents.”

Recently, Sampogna said, a wellness program which supplies pedometers to borough employees was initiated, and a walking and biking trail at the end of Glencoe Avenue that leads to Noblestown Road in Carnegie opened.

Jen Mathie, Green Tree recreation coordinator, said more activities will be announced this summer.

“We're really excited. I think this initiative is really something we've been working on prior to joining Live Well Allegheny with the walking track and everything else the borough provides.

“I think this will be something to support our ongoing initiative to keep everyone healthy.”

David Mayernik Jr. is a Tribune-Review staff writer.

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