Columbus Public Health officials are seeking to re-energize an ongoing effort to get people to energize themselves.

Columbus Public Health officials are seeking to re-energize an ongoing effort to get people to energize themselves.

Jamie Turner, physical activities coordinator with the Creating Healthy Communities program of Columbus Public Health, was the guest speaker at last week's monthly meeting of the North Side Health Advisory Committee.

"This program aims to create healthy communities by reducing the rates of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and chronic lower respiratory disease among Columbus residents by addressing risk factors such as nutrition, physical activity and tobacco use," according to the department's website. "The program works with communities, schools, worksites, and healthcare professionals to create a plan to reduce risk factors for chronic disease."

Turner's topic was the Franklin County Physical Activities Plan, which was developed in 2006-07 and finalized in 2008. Turner, who has been with Columbus Public Health since April, said the plan, which was launched in 2010 and extends through 2014, seeks to encourage more physical activity by focusing on communities, schools, worksites and transportation.

With no grant money backing the plan, which was created by Columbus Public Health and produced by the Franklin County Board of Health in conjunction with the city of Columbus, Healthy Ohio and the Creating Healthy Communities Network, Turner said implementation is basically the job of everyone concerned with encouraging increased physical activity.

One of the means of doing this is by seeking partner endorsements of the plan from such diverse groups as insurance agencies, law firms, nonprofit organizations and governmental entities, she said.

"Endorsement is symbolic," Turner told health advisory committee members. "It means that your organization is supportive of the goals."

"This is more than academic to us," said Mathew S. Baldwin, the Columbus Public Health management analyst who advises the committee.

He pointed out that the North Side Health Advisory Committee, in conjunction with the Helping Hands Health and Wellness Center free clinic, formally applied for a grant Aug. 3 under the Healthy People 2020 program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If the application is successful - and this won't be known until Nov. 11 - a significant portion of the $5,000 to $10,000 grant would be aimed at increasing physical activity among Northland residents.

"Approximately 61 percent of Franklin County residents were obese or overweight in 2008," the executive summary of the Franklin County Physical Activity Plan said. "Being either obese or overweight increases the risk for many chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers and stroke. Reversing the obesity epidemic in Franklin County will require a comprehensive and coordinated approach that uses policy and environmental change to transform communities into places that support and promote healthy lifestyle choices, including physical activity for all residents.

"The plan is an effort to build momentum to support physical activity in Franklin County. The plan challenges professionals working in the community, schools, worksites and transportation sectors to promote physical activity through systems, environment and policy change."

"It's a gold mine of information," Turner said of the plan and accompanying website, www. publichealth.colmbus.gov/fc-physical-activity-plan.aspx, which includes a toolkit for each of the four sectors for implementing the program.

"It's the whole darned community coming together," Baldwin said.

"It's good to see that there is a kind of comprehensive plan out there," added committee co-chairman Scott Dowling.