Medical Mutual, Maumee resolve to get healthyWritten by Michael Driehorst | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The city of Maumee is looking to get in shape — and Medical Mutual of Ohio and many community organizations are looking to help.
Maumee City Council approved a partnership in the summer with Cleveland-based Medical Mutual of Ohio to develop and implement a three-year program aimed at “building a culture of health and wellness in the City of Maumee,” according to Rich Wallack, vice president of marketing services for Medical Mutual.
The program is open to everyone who lives or works in Maumee.
In addition to the city government and Medical Mutual, other community groups and businesses taking an active role in the “Healthy Maumee” program include the Maumee City Schools, Senior Center and Chamber of Commerce, AstraZeneca, HCR Manor Care, Pfizer, Heartland Rehabilitation, Stautzenberger College, the Mirror Newspapers and St. Luke’s Hospital.
While many groups of the community are contributing in-kind services, facilities and manpower, Medical Mutual has committed $300,000 over the life of the three-year program.
“As a city, we’re in the business of promoting a healthy lifestyle and public safety,” said Maumee City Administrator John Jezak. “We feel that Healthy Maumee is in line with that charge to improve the quality of life for all residents.”
Maumee’s latest health and wellness community initiative echoes the Get Fit Toledo campaign started in 2006. The week of Jan. 4, Lucas County commissioners named Andrew Zepeda — better known as Andrew “Z” on his radio morning show — as the “weight loss czar.” Zepeda challenged Lucas County residents to lose 1 million pounds in 2009. Since January 2008, Zepeda lost 75 pounds, down to 325, after undergoing a lapband surgery procedure, diet and exercise. Wallack said Healthy Maumee is modeled after the pilot Healthy Solon that will start its third year in April.
Cleveland Magazine named Solon as the top suburb for 2008, and the mayor publicly credited the Healthy Solon initiative as being part of the reason for earning the honor.
While Healthy Solon was the pilot, Wallack said the Healthy Maumee committee members are developing the program to suit its community needs.
He said the 20 to 30 members of the committee have been meeting biweekly since early September and all members are “showing a lot of passion” for the program.
“There’s a great mount of participation from local businesses. As a group, they are deciding what is appropriate for the program and in the best interest of Maumee,” he said.
Kathy Finch Carlson, employer services manager for St. Luke’s Hospital, said, “What’s so great about the program is that it will bring all the residents together. There are already strong partnerships among the community’s businesses, and this program will only build on those partnerships.”
As to how to gauge the success of Healthy Maumee, Wallack said there are various ways. Two main things that will be looked at will be the level of participation from the start and during the three-year period, and if the baseline data from the health screenings improve.
In Solon, for example, of the 300 people who had an initial screening, 150 had a second screening and each improved in at least one category, and no one became worse.
The first main event during the initiative is a 10-week Get Movin’ Maumee fitness challenge. To allow everyone to participate, two to three 10-week challenges will be organized each year of the program, along with other activities, according to Finch Carlson.
Wallack said Maumee was chosen for a number of reasons, including Medical Mutual’s 9,500 plan subscribers who live or work in the city, its strong employer base in the area, and its past good working relationship with the city and businesses.
Later this year, Medical Mutual plans to kick off a similar program in Dublin, Ohio.
During the work with the cities, Wallack said the main goal is to change participants’ habits.
“We hope that the change in the culture of health and wellness takes hold in the cities and continues beyond the three years,” he said.
Information about Get Movin’ Maumee and the entire Healthy Maumee program, including being able to sign up for e-mail alerts can be found at the Web site www.healthymaumee.org.
Maumee encouraged to get movin’
The first major event of the three-year Healthy Maumee initiative is Get Movin’ Maumee. It’s a 10-week fitness challenge that starts Jan. 25 designed to get participants in the habit of exercising.
For the first five weeks, participants are encouraged to exercise three times a week, 30 minutes at a time and keep a log. For the final five weeks, while maintaining their log, participants are encouraged to increase their exercise to five times a week.
Any type of exercise will count. At the end of the challenge, all participants who turn in a log will be entered into a drawing for prizes at an April 18 health festival at the high school.
“We want to encourage everyone to ‘get moving’ and support each other with the challenge. We want to get everyone moving during the winter months when you certainly don’t feel like it,” said Kathy Finch Carlson, employer services manager for St. Luke’s Hospital.
To enroll in the challenge, register anytime online at www.healthymaumee.org or during select days and times Jan. 19 to 24 at Heartland Rehabilitation Services, Maumee Senior Center, Diabetes Care Center at St. Luke’s, and at Positively Fit.