The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

March 10, 2013

New Ulm takes heart in health project stats

(Continued)

NEW ULM —

The project’s first adult health screenings took place in 2009 and involved nearly 5,200 people.

In 2011, a study showed a 24 percent drop in the number of acute heart attacks in a five-quarter period compared with the previous five-quarter period, although Boucher cautioned that those figures have yet to be validated.

“We really want to make sure. Sometimes things can get coded as heart attacks that aren’t heart attacks.”

Boucher said that while the overall community health statistics are encouraging, she stresses they are relatively early results in the project, reflecting changes from 2009-2011.

She said heart health screenings will again be conducted in 2014 with health trends continuing to be monitored to ascertain improvements in cardiovascular disease risk factors.

Meantime, the project continues to move forward with communitywide healthy living programs.

Cindy Winters, who joined the project in May to head its community programs, said this year the project’s largest-ever community health challenge will begin — an 18-month weight-loss challenge involving more than 2,000 adults 18 and over.

The fundraising incentive is to lose enough collective weight to receive $100,000 in grants. Winters said the money will be used to buy public outdoor exercise equipment that will be clustered in city parks.

Winters said she’s also spearheading a promotion to get more residents to ride bicycles, which plays into one of her definitions of success for the project.

At its end in 2018, Winters said she wants to look out over the parking lot at New Ulm Medical Center and see this:

“A lot less cars and a lot more bikes.”   

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