German Village Gazette

Health panels plan 'Let's Move, Columbus' event

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This year, Columbus.

Next year? Perhaps all of the 614 area code.

Taking a cue from First Lady Michelle Obama and a page out of a faith group's efforts last September, the members of the North Side Health Advisory Committee are organizing their counterparts and others to stage "Let's Move, Columbus" at four different venues on Sept. 21.

A website for the event, letsmovecolumbus.org, was scheduled to go live this week, according to the Rev. Kwesi Gyimah, a member of the North Side Health Advisory Committee.

Columbus Public Health officials have launched four of the panels, one for each point of the compass. While the intention was for these volunteer committees to address specific health issues and concerns in their sector of the city, Gyimah said there is some benefit in having the organizations work on a single event.

"I think the advantage here is, apart from some basic elements of the activities, aside from some things we want at all locations, each community can tweak this as it reflects the needs of the community," Gyimah said.

Let's Move, Columbus, is intended to encourage families to get health screenings and engage in exercise that day, with a goal of encouraging them to continue these activities as a family, Gyimah said. Common activities at all four sites, he said, would include walks of varying lengths, a children's health expo, group workout sessions and adult health screenings.

Gyimah added that there will be a "friendly competition" between the East, West, South and North side committees to see who gets the most participants in the first year of what is being planned as an annual event.

"I would venture to say that this is the most ambitious idea that the (North Side Health Advisory Committee) has had the opportunity to support and help organize," co-chair Scott Dowling wrote in an email. "And while we are planning to focus our efforts on the Northland area, we are assaying this in a somewhat different manner by leveraging relationships with individuals and organizations active throughout the Columbus Metro Area, and beyond."

Along with the committees and Columbus Public Health, Dowling indicated that the YMCA of Central Ohio and various sponsors would be involved in bringing off the inaugural Let's Move, Columbus.

Let's Move, Indy, was held Sept. 23, in response to the First Lady's efforts to combat childhood obesity.

Gyimah has been in touch with the organizers of that event.

"We're not trying to duplicate it exactly," he said. "We want to make it even better than what they did."

"There will be numerous family-oriented activities, promotional items, and of course, plenty of educational information, all designed to help get people moving and keep them moving, and help enable a healthier lifestyle for everybody," Dowling wrote. "When the (web)site is open, people will be able to preregister for the event, and for some of the major activities therein.

"We expect there will be a walkathon of some type, depending on the final venues we line up, along with many other fun activities designed to get the whole family together and moving."

Gyimah is pastor of the recently renamed Columbus All Nations Seventh-Day Adventist Church, formerly the Columbus African Seventh-Day Adventist Church. His congregation has a health ministry, the Global Center for Wellness and Transformation, that he said will be very involved in planning Let's Move, Columbus.

Gyimah added that in the future, he hopes the program will expand beyond just Columbus, so that one day it might have to be called "Let's Move, 614."

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