The Ottumwa Courier


May 5, 2012

No need to be blue

Our Opinion

OTTUMWA — While Ottumwa was not selected as one of the Blue Zones demonstration sites on Friday, this doesn’t mean the community’s quest for becoming healthier is at an end.

In fact, it may be the impetus to continue moving forward with our plans and to engage more residents in the process.

“We will continue to look at this as an opportunity,” said Lynelle Diers, Wapello County’s clinical director of public health, who told the Courier that the local Blue Zone advisory board and committee plans on applying again in the next round.

Regardless of whether or not we ever receive the Blue Zone designation, the Ottumwa advisory board and committee are committed to creating an environment that is family- and health-friendly for all residents.

“I’ve started to talk with grocery stores to see if they could have a check-out aisle that doesn’t include candy, which is a distraction for kids, so it would be a family check-out,” Diers told the Courier. “And at restaurants, we’re trying to make the menus healthier and highlighting those entrees that are healthier.”

The article in today’s paper emphasizes the need for community involvement. We need to get everyone in Ottumwa excited about making positive changes to help both young and old find new ways to live healthier and longer lives.

With a more engaged citizenry, it makes it so much easier to find support amongst friends, families and neighbors — all of whom are dedicated to making Ottumwa a great place to live a healthy life.

So, let’s not hang our heads. Instead, let’s use Friday’s news as the motivation we need to make Ottumwa the model for healthy living.

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