Loud and clear alarms have been sounding for quite some time now, but the call for all Americans to get fit is more urgent than ever. The damage we’re doing to ourselves continues to proliferate. Just as we’re irreversibly hurting our planet through our own actions, we’re doing the same to ourselves by being overweight and sedentary. And, similar to the price we’re paying for overusing carbon-based energy and polluting our air and water, costs associated with the medical conditions that result from obesity and inactivity are hitting us directly in our individual and collective pocketbooks.
One of the early alarm sounders was and continues to be Jim Nathan, CEO/President of Lee Memorial Health System. He’s been preaching the prevention message for all of the many decades he’s been in the health-care business and he’s as much about making that a key mission of LMHS as ever. Mr. Nathan continues to hammer home to anyone who will listen the message that preventing disease and injury will do the most good for individuals, society and LMHS. Everyone benefits when a health-care facility is more about being a wellness center than a fix-it shop.
Just as a power company that sells electricity encourages its customers to conserve energy so that capacity building is unnecessary, Mr. Nathan makes clear that having to provide less repair but more care and maintenance is by far a better way to operate any health care system for the same reason. More importantly, he knows what that means for individuals’ quality of life.
Mr. Nathan’s message to the LMHS board of directors at its recent meeting focused only on that topic: LMHS should do whatever it must to help its customers (i.e., all residents and visitors to our area) become and/or stay healthy so they don’t need as many non-prevention services. To that end, he announced Healthy Lee’s “Million Mile Movement,” a challenge to the whole community to collectively log 1 million miles of walking, running, bicycling, swimming, stair climbing and skating between Oct. 1 to the end of the year. In his presentation he informed the board that as a way for LMHS to provide leadership in the challenge, he committed the board members to log 10 percent of those miles. I’m guessing he made that pronouncement only to be sure they were listening, but even though the board members alone obviously can’t rack up 100,000 miles, if everyone who works and volunteers for LMHS participates they just might be able to reach that number. Whether you’re affiliated with LMHS or not, we can all do our part by getting (more) active and logging our miles by registering at healthylee.com/million-milemovement.
Safe routes to school
Back in a May, 2015 column I wrote that Lisa Indovino, the Safe Routes to School Community Educator who works within Lee County schools, was the very worthy winner of Florida Bicycle Association’s Educator of the Year. We have been fortunate to have her expertise and energy here for the past few years but, alas, Ms. Indovino has decided to take on that role in Manatee County so she’ll be closer to her home. During her tenure here she reached more students than any other individual or program ever did and she did so by utilizing a variety of creative and fun-filled approaches. Her shoes are surely going to be hard to fill, so if you know of someone who can work well with kids, teachers and school administrators— and especially who’s passionate about bike/ped safety — encourage them to apply for the two open positions. One is full-time and the other part-time, but I’m told both positions must be applied for. The plan is for Ms. Indovino to stay long enough to help in the transitioning of her replacement(s). The job descriptions and applications can be found at allkids.org/careers/jobs/details-page?requisitionidno=7025 (Full time Community Educator Position) and allkids.org/careers/jobs/details-page?requisitionidno=6983 (Part Time Community Educator Position).
As usual, you’ll find much more about the Million Mile Movement, Safe Routes to School, and other community matters at BikeWalkLee’s blog: bikewalklee.blogspot.com.
Until next time, I’ll look for you on the roads and pathways.
— Dan Moser is a long-time bicycle/pedestrian advocate and traffic safety professional who cycles, run and walks regularly for transportation, recreation and fitness. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org 334- 6417.