The Healthy Dublin initiative will give residents at least three years to make changes that organizers hope will last a lifetime.

The Healthy Dublin initiative will give residents at least three years to make changes that organizers hope will last a lifetime.

The initiative backed by Medical Mutual of Ohio kicks off Oct. 4 at the Dublin Community Recreation Center.

Medical Mutual started the program in Solon, Ohio, and expanded it to the Toledo suburb of Maumee last year. Rick Wallack, vice president of marketing services, said the program has been successful, and Medical Mutual is hoping to beat former numbers of 3,000 attendees at the opening event.

"We have such a strong partnership with the city government and the chamber (of commerce). We hope to utilize their e-mail distribution system," he said.

Those partners and residents have helped shape the Healthy Dublin program.

"We have a committee made of community people and they've worked to develop a program based on what this group thinks the needs are," Wallack said.

Insight gained at the opening event also will help guide future events and offerings, he said.

Once the needs of the community are established, educational, fitness and other programs will be offered free to Dublin residents and workers, Wallack said. Past programs have included speakers aimed at men and women, and even fashion shows.

The 10-week health challenge has been a popular program in other cities, Wallack said.

"We try to focus on a different area every week for 10 weeks," he said. "It involved trainers (and) dieticians. It's all free to the people who participate. We try and make access to the programs easy."

The challenge also is focused on motivating people to use healthy habits.

"The goal of the fitness challenge is to offer an opportunity every week and offer an opportunity to help people make a change," Wallack said. "On the Web site we have an activity log where people can go and keep track of walking or exercise. Heck, even doing yard work is good for you."

Some participants will be rewarded at the end of the 10-week fitness challenge.

"We try to reward people who make a change at the end of the 10 weeks. We have a celebration and acknowledge people who have changed," Wallack said.

Another major focus of the program will be education -- letting people know their current health and how to improve it.

"One of the most important things is this breaks down information so people can understand where they're at," Wallack said. "We've had health fairs in other communities and it never fails that someone will get the screening done and they'll find out they have something like a potential for diabetes. At one fair someone found out they had a heart murmur."