Keep stepping forward on health

Published 11:40 pm Friday, November 20, 2015

Many small steps add up to walking a mile, and then the extra mile.

That’s how the Suffolk Partnership for a Healthy Community, the Obici Healthcare Foundation and others hope Suffolk is getting healthier — one step at a time.

The organizations held an annual update meeting Tuesday for their Healthy People Healthy Suffolk initiative. The foundation asked the partnership to develop and oversee programs to help Suffolk residents get healthier.


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“There has been a tremendous change … to help bring about a culture of change,” said Douglas Naismith, a board member of the Suffolk Partnership for a Healthy Community. “It’s generational … and it’s going to take time to see the changes we want to see here. But Suffolk is doing it.”

The partnership has partnered with multiple community partners to create programs improving access to health care resources and encouraging Suffolk residents to take charge of their own health care. Among the many initiatives are a continuum of care plan to address diabetes and hypertension; helping fund local walking trails and exercise equipment in the Whaleyville Community Center; a mobile food pantry that distributes fresh produce and gives cooking demonstrations to so-called “food deserts” in Suffolk once a month, where 38 percent of users have diabetes and 71 percent have high blood pressure; and grants that helped communities afford healthy options during National Night Out celebrations.

“Obesity had become an epidemic affecting our community,” Regina Brayboy, executive director of the Suffolk Partnership, said during Tuesday’s meeting. “We are no longer silently battling obesity.”

We commend all those involved in these efforts and encourage them to keep going. The stakes couldn’t be higher.