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Leetsdale seeks 'Live Well' status in Allegheny County

| Tuesday, March 6, 2018, 4:24 p.m.

Leetsdale soon will join forces with the Allegheny County to help improve the health of its residents.

Council passed a resolution this month indicating the borough's willingness to participate in Live Well Allegheny — an initiative led by the Allegheny County Health Department that promotes physical health, mental wellness, community safety and health literacy.

“It's a statement on behalf of elected officials that a healthy community is a priority for Leetsdale,” borough solicitor Megan Turnbull said.

Leetsdale already has taken measures that prioritize public health.

For instance, the borough holds its annual Snowflake Classic 5k run each year and has an array of volunteer activities for community members.

“In the last six to eight months, Leetsdale joined a different county Health Department initiative and declared most of the parks and borough buildings, aside from designated areas, to be smoke free,” Turnbull said. By continuing its existing health initiatives, the borough will have an easier time working toward the campaign's stated goal of making Allegheny County the “healthiest county” in the nation.

Currently, 50 municipalities, as well as 41 restaurants, 14 workplaces and 13 school districts have joined the county campaign, now in its fifth year. That number includes a handful of nearby boroughs and townships.

Sewickley, the nearest participating community, recently introduced a walking challenge for borough employees.

“They've really thought about Live Well not only in terms of Sewickley residents, (but) they also have a very nice wellness program for their employees,” said Hannah Hardy, manager of the county Health Department's chronic disease prevention program.

Allegheny County Health Department plans to support Leetsdale, as it does with every other Live Well Allegheny community, once the borough becomes an official member.

The Health Department has more than 130 partners that can help communities implement specific programs, from community gardens to blood pressure awareness events, according to Hardy.

County health officials regularly share ideas for health initiatives, as well as outside grant opportunities, with participating municipalities.

The campaign's website also publishes activities taking place in member communities. All county residents can access this information.

“Live Well Allegheny will help you more broadly advertise and broadcast those programs that are supporting community health and wellness,” Turnbull said.

Borough leaders planned to send the county a model resolution letter containing several action steps that they hope will lead to a healthier Leetsdale. Once the Health Department reviews and approves the letter, the borough officially will become a Live Well Allegheny community.

Sam Bojarski is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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