As part of its effort to build a healthier Buffalo County, Community Partners established the Weight and Wellness Coalition in 2000. It was funded by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska and its goal was to offer nutrition and healthy eating information to Buffalo County residents in a preventative health effort.
In 2008, active lifestyle goals were added to that coalition’s objectives and Activate Buffalo County was born.
As Activate Buffalo County, our work started with two health challenges:
- Get Your 30 Challenge, a three-month educational and motivational challenge for workplaces.
- N-Lighten Nebraska, a community challenge coupled with a lunch-and-learn event.
In 2009, we began distributing physicians’ toolkits to local healthcare providers. The kits included obesity information and visual aids. We also hosted two community challenges including 5-4-3-2-1 Join the Movement, which rewarded community members for eating healthfully and being physically active.
In 2010, we co-sponsored Walk Out on Your Job, a 1.5 mile walk designed to promote an active workday among our local businesses. We also promoted Safe Routes to School’s fall Walk to School Day in area schools and provided advertising and promotional material for Kearney Park & Recreation’s Adventure Race.
In 2011, we designed and distributed an Active Living & Healthy Eating toolkit that drew on the Buffalo County 2020 Vision and its strategic directions.
In 2012, the Join the Movement initiative was created featuring four campaigns:
- Be Active, which promotes active lifestyles
- Unplug, which encourages community members to reduce their screen time
- ReThink Your Drink, which highlights the sugar content of popular, unhealthy drinks
- Lighten Up, which provides information on food choices, portion sizes, and healthful eating habits
In 2013, we received funding from Safe Routes to School to begin promoting walking and biking to school. We co-sponsored Healthy Kids Weekend, which drew thousands of community members to special events at six locations, helped yet again with Walk Out On Your Job, and shared our information at health fairs, the LiveWell Nebraska Tour, area schools, and more.
In 2014, we took over Wellness Works, a community-wide worksite wellness membership program previously sponsored by the Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce. We developed that work with a focus on worksite wellness, and a community-wide worksite wellness survey.
From that survey data, and a continued need for the improvement of healthy lifestyles in our county, a new initiative was formed. Be Well Buffalo County was designed in 2014 to partner with Activate Buffalo County by serving as a vision and planning team. Be Well works through our local data to determine what the needs are here in the county.
Activate Buffalo County continues to host community challenges, contests and educational campaigns. This year, we will take a very strategic focus on worksite wellness. We will continue to work with Be Well to ensure the needs of our community are being met as efficiently as possible.