Living healthy takes a determined effort and the Pratt Health Foundation is taking steps to help residents succeed in that effort.
The Pratt Health Foundation is seeking a grant through the Kansas Health Foundation Healthy Communities Initiative to establish conditions for healthy living in Pratt, said DeWayne Bryan, Pratt Health Foundation executive director.
The grant is available up to $25,000. If approved, the funds would be used to retain a consultant to determine what action can be taken to help improve health in Pratt, Bryan said.
While the Health Foundation would be the sponsoring organization, they would work in a coalition with the city, county, school systems including the college, Pratt Regional Medical Center and Blythe Family Fitness Center to determine what action would be taken.
Once a course of action has been set, the coalition would work with various entities to provide health opportunities within the community, Bryan said.
If the grant is approved, the Health Foundation will apply again. If the second grant is approved it will be used to implement better health initiatives. The second grant is for three years and will be a matching grant.
An area the Health Foundation wants to promote in Pratt is the development of sidewalks around town especially along First Street east of Stout and along K-61 from the junction at U.S. 54 north to the city limits and along the Maple Street addition.
It's also difficult to walk to Dillons and to Pratt Regional Medical Center as well as other businesses along east First Street.
A K-61 sidewalk would make it easier for college students to access businesses around the intersection including McDonalds, Walmart, Maurices and Hibbet Sporting goods.
Another element considered for development is bicycle lanes.
While the grant won't provide funds for actual projects, it will provide ideas for healthy living improvements in Pratt.
The Health Foundation wants the city to think about healthy living when they consider projects.
The need for healthier living is evident. Half of America has some sort of chronic disease.
The top three chronic health issues are tobacco use, poor nutrition and inactivity. A goal of the Health Foundation is to provide conditions in the community that promote healthy living.
Obesity in Kansas and America is on the rise. Pratt statistics indicate that 30 percent of the population is obese. People spend too much time watching TV, working or playing on the computer, using electronic media and not getting up and moving, Bryan said.
Obesity is also growing among children. One healthy living option could be walking busses instead of riding busses.
Students would gather at a prearranged meeting point then a school employee would walk the group to school.
Page 2 of 2 - Just walking to school would help reduce obesity and the risk of diabetes.
"It's not rocket science. We've just gotten soft from being physically inactive.
Getting the grant will be the first step towards healthy living. However, if the grant doesn't come through, the health foundation will probably.
The results of the Kansas Health Foundation grant application will be announced in March 2013.