Shelby County takes on low health ranking with new signs

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This picture taken by Healthy Shelby County shows one of the 'Get Healthy Here' campaign signs just installed in the county.

By Aishah Hasnie

SHELBY COUNTY – One of the unhealthiest counties in Central Indiana is taking action by installing signs pointing out places where residents can get fit.

Healthy Shelby County launched the program to combat the county’s health problem.

“We have a high rate of chronic disease in Shelby County,” said Denise Holland, coordinator for Healthy Shelby County.

She said 34 percent of adults in the county are obese, 27 percent smoke, and 21 percent of adults are physically inactive.

That ranks Shelby County as the 57th healthiest county in the state out of 92 counties.

“When you look at all the counties that surround Marion County and the counties that surround Shelby County, we are worse on every indicator of health,” explained Holland.

The ‘Get Healthy Here’ signs will be placed at parks, gyms, playgrounds, and anywhere people can get fit. They will serve as reminders of all the resources available to residents. Holland said people tend to choose the options that are already made available to them.

“When you have nice walking paths, the studies say people just naturally use them,” said Holland. “If they naturally use them, then you don’t have to get them to exercise.”

And it’s not just about getting people health; those signs could also lead to a healthier economy. Holland said recently, more companies are asking questions about the health of a county before they decide to move there.

“How many of your people have diabetes? How many of your people have chronic heart failure? … Getting healthy here is part of economic development, because it impacts our ability not just to be healthy, but to attract the kind of businesses and other residents that really improve our quality of life.”

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