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Proactive plan for improving health is encouraging

Community should consider a weight loss competition held in Jefferson County

Earlier this month, the Crook County Health Department upgraded its strategic plan, a document that will guide the department for the next four years.

The plan will address a host of specific health issues that remain a continual problem in Crook County and have been identified in statewide health ranks as the areas the community comes up short.

Tobacco use, particularly among local youth, has been a consistent problem locally, one that health department personnel say comes from a long-established culture of embracing smoking cigarette and chewing smokeless tobacco.

The plan, therefore, includes strategies to combat the problem and continue what has been a modest, but continual decline in the unhealthy behavior.

The health department will also continue its focus on promoting exercise and opportunities to do so in Crook County. Director Muriel DeLaVergne-Brown points out that health department has teamed up with other local agencies to improve the condition and safety of the Ochoco Creek bike path and the addition of such bike trails as the Lower 66 and the community bike park have helped give people more opportunities to get up off of the couch, head outdoors and improve cardiovascular health and lose extra weight.

We are pleased to see the health department take a proactive approach to improving community health. Developing a long-range plan to make local residents healthier will only make a community that many people are proud of that much better.

The health department in Jefferson County has taken over a community health program that has been very successful, and potentially something that could be utilized here in Crook County — a countywide contest that inspires people to eat healthier, lose weight, and adopt a more healthy lifestyle.

The Jefferson County contest is called Movin' Mountains. For the past decade, starting during the New Years resolution month of January, a four-month contest is held. Men and women compete individually or in two-person teams to see who can lose the most percentage of weight and inches around their waist and hips. Contestants pay $25 per event entered (individual and/or team) and all of the entry fees go toward cash prizes for the division winners. The health department handles some of the other costs of the program, and some sponsorship/partnerships are arranged.

Each year Movin' Mountains has drawn around 300 to 450 entrants, with thousands of pounds of weight lost. Many others take part "unofficially," improving their own health while supporting their spouses or co-workers involved in the program.

It seems fun, it puts a carrot out there for people to lose weight and get healthier, and it's not that complicated — a weigh-in and measure in January and again in May. Carolyn Harvey has ran the program in Jefferson County since its inception. We'd encourage the Crook County Health Department to call her at 541-475-4292. We think Crook County would respond well to such a community program, and it would be a perfect addition to the many other community health improvement goals of the department.