The Healthy Sandy Partnership program is celebrating its 20-year anniversary this year. This successful program encompasses more than just promoting healthy eating and exercise. The program, along with the many volunteers and sponsors, strives to create healthy residents through addressing all lifestyle habits that include safety, substance abuse and addiction, sleep and relationships. Whatever area you need help with, odds are there is an initiative in place to address it. The partnership is one between Sandy City, Alta View Hospital, The Salt Lake County Health Department and the Canyons School District.
Healthy Sandy Summit is one of the newer programs. It challenges residents to achieve and maintain optimal health and wellness. It works by each participant selecting and tracking their own monthly challenges and annual challenges and providing events to keep them going. As they complete challenges, they can bring their tracker into select locations and collect Summit Cards. Depending on the number of Summit Cards collected, award medallions are given. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
Participants in the Healthy Sandy Partnership programs attend events and receive awards for meeting their personal goals.
M. Gordon Johnson, volunteer chairperson for the Healthy Sandy Partnership, believes that prevention is the key to healthy communities. Johnson has been part of the program since its inception and has seen many positive changes in his own community.
“Everyone wants good health, but relatively few want to change,” Johnson said. “It’s uphill all the way in trying to help people to make changes in their lives, but I personally can’t think of a more important thing for me personally and for our family to promote than healthy practices, because 80 percent of our diseases are preventable.”
Johnson recently addressed the Utah Public Health Association at a conference where he stressed the importance of being well and staying well. The Healthy Sandy Partnership, and particularly the Healthy Sandy Summit program, is an excellent tool for adults and children to get fit and healthy right in their own communities.
“From time to time we see demonstrators in the news carrying signs like this: ‘Healthcare is a Civil Right’. But, have you ever seen demonstrators carrying placards that read, ‘Prevention is a Personal Responsibility’?” Johnson said. “Millions of Americans demand the best possible healthcare when they come to the ER, but few of them feel any personal responsibility for their health.”
Johnson and a committee decided to take a holistic approach to personal health improvement that addressed more than just physical activity, weight loss and nutrition. They wanted individuals to choose their own priorities and support them. The result was the Healthy Sandy Summit. This program, along with the partnerships that help support it, is changing the way people view health. They have found that taking a personal approach often finds the most success.
“The Healthy Sandy Partnership is the longest established program and is such an asset to the county,” Beverly Hyatt Nevell, PhD, MPH, bureau manager from the Salt Lake County Health Department, said. “The program and the work that has been done has influenced every resident in Sandy. Some of them are not even aware because of the various campaigns and messages (immunizations) that they are part of the Healthy Sandy Partnership.”