City residents will have the opportunity to engage in a friendly competition against four other Harrison County communities where the primary goal is to improve health and move the needle on obesity.
The competition is being called The Health Games and is being presented by Healthy Harrison and partnered by the United Way of Harrison County, United Hospital Center and West Virginia University.
The Health Games is designed to address one of the top reoccurring issues identified in the Community Needs Assessment — obesity. Up to $100,000 in cash and resources will be awarded to implement a health strategy in one of five county communities — Bridgeport, downtown Clarksburg, North View, Nutter Fort and Shinnston.
Healthy Harrison has been in existence for about four years now,” said John Paul Nardelli, the Executive Director for Healthy Harrison. “We have really tried to find a niche for ourselves. We’ve done workplace wellness for the past four years and it was a real big success.
“But given the obstacles of COVID, we said to ourselves, ‘Hey is it a good time to pause and go in a different direction’ where we would be engaging a larger percentage of the community and really taking the time to be transformative because all the research indicates that obesity and chronic disease makes us more susceptible to the coronavirus.
“For lack of a better term it was perfect timing for us to really take our personal health very seriously so we can do whatever we can to make our immune system healthier.”
Each of the five communities will present their ideas on how they intend to implement a plan for building a healthier community to a panel of five health coaches. The health coaches will critique and evaluate each community pitch and determine a winner to implement their project from Nov. 1, 2020 to June 1, 2021.
The winning community will receive $50,000 in cash to be used for community based programming, 200 Fitbit Inspire devices (to incentivize participation and motivate movement), 200 Good Measures subscriptions (to provide personalized meal tracking and nutrition coaching) and a series of WVU virtual classes that include yoga, zumba, pilates, meditation, Tai Chi, cardio and fusion.
“The goal is to get one pitch from each community,” Nardelli said. “Even though this is exciting and we want to hear from everybody, ultimately our goal is to get people to work together and truly collaborate.
“Yes, these communities are coming up with innovative ideas but at the end of the day they are working together and that’s really at the core of a healthy community, being able to communicate and work together.”
More information about the Health Games, including contact info for questions, can be found on the Healthy Harrison website HERE
Editor’s Note: Photos by