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May 22, 2017

SIOUX FALLS, SD — Through a collaboration with the South Dakota Department of Health, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield is pleased to bring Healthy HometownSM Powered by Wellmark to South Dakotans.

The Department’s Office of Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion created Good & Healthy South Dakota to provide a central source of information for South Dakota communities, schools, workplaces, childcare, health care and tribes. The Healthy Hometown program aims to engage communities of all sizes to improve the overall well-being of residents. It offers proven tools that can be used in communities to make long-lasting changes to transform the places where citizens live, work and play by making the healthy choice the easy choice.

“Have you ever noticed how your surroundings affect your activity level?” asked Elizabeth Mendelson, director of sales for Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Dakota. “Just think about your normal day. How often are you on your phone or tablet? Is processed food easier to fit into your hectic schedule than a healthy meal? Do you drive to the store rather than walk? Our day-to-day activities and where we live impact our health. In fact, your ZIP code may impact your health more than your genetic code.”

Expert assistance available

Communities are not alone. Assistance is available to help communities take the first step in making positive changes. Healthy Hometown experts will work with a community to help identify and prioritize goals. Strategies include implementing a complete streets policy, establishing a community or school garden or passing a nicotine-free policy in public parks. As the community works to implement its goals, Healthy Hometown experts will provide guidance in the implementation of tools where the end result has a long-term impact on the health and well-being of residents. 

Communities interested in this free assistance can submit a Healthy Hometown Statement of Interest (SOI), available at the Good & Healthy South DakotaExternal Site . Once submitted, a Healthy Hometown representative will contact the individual who submitted the SOI to learn more about the community and ask additional questions to gauge the readiness of the community to make long-lasting changes.

Complete an online self-assessment

Any South Dakota community, worksite or school can also complete a free self-assessment and receive a report that will provide tools to help make positive changes to where citizens live, work and play. The self-assessment is available at the Good & Healthy South DakotaExternal Site .

“From the self-assessment to receiving help from experts, Healthy Hometown offers something for everyone,” said Kiley Hump, chronic disease prevention and health promotion administrator for the South Dakota Department of Health. “Adopting a good and healthy lifestyle is a great way to maintain your health and prevent chronic disease. Being active, eating right, quitting tobacco use and staying educated on important health risks are all steps in the right direction. Let’s work together to make South Dakota good and healthy.”

For more information on the Healthy Hometown program, visit the Good & Healthy South DakotaExternal Site .