Lima Ohio……Pioneering a Healthier Community: February 25, 2011

YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) announced that Lima, Ohio is one of 10 new communities selected nationally, that will be joining Pioneering Healthier Communities (PHC), its signature initiative that brings together high-level community leaders to create environments that help sustain healthy behaviors through environmental and policy change. PHC is funded through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Since its inception in 2004, PHC has tasked a new group of communities with transforming their hometowns into model healthy communities each year. Communities involved in PHC have had success in influencing systemic changes that affect community walkability and pedestrian safety; access to fresh fruits and vegetables; worksite wellness and physical education requirements in schools.

"Y-USA created PHC to address the growing rates of chronic disease caused largely by inactivity and poor diet. We understood that we could have a greater impact if we empowered communities to work together to build and sustain healthier neighborhoods," said Neil Nicoll, YMCA of the USA President and CEO. "By stepping outside of our walls, YMCAs have also been able to change the way local leaders think about how their communities impact healthy lifestyles."

PHC is part of the YMCA's Healthier Communities Initiatives, which also includes Statewide PHC (funded by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation) and Action Communities for Health, Innovation, and EnVironmental ChangE (funded by CDC). The Healthier Communities Initiatives engage community leaders, convened by local YMCA's, in policy and environmental change efforts that support and promote healthy lifestyles. These initiatives empower local communities with proven strategies and models to create and sustain positive, lasting change for healthy living.

Local YMCA President & CEO, Jerry Courtney and Janis Sunderhaus, CEO of Health Partners of Western Ohio will be team coaches that will lead the community’s efforts.

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