2014-08-15 / Front Page

Pursuit of workplace health is rewarded

Goal of Healthy Maine Streets is ‘sustainable long-term economic growth in Maine’
By Alex Acquisto
Staff Writer

KENNEBUNK — Kennebunk recently won the top prize of $1,000 in a contest conducted by Healthy Maine Streets. The initiative, started by the Maine Development Foundation, is tailored to enhance health and wellness in the workplace.

The Brick Store Museum, after completing a survey for HMS through the Healthy U.S. Scorecard, also recently won $500 for its participation. The prize money will be used to train two full-time employees in CPR, to purchase a high-efficiency vacuum (tailored specifically to the museum, this device helps with the detection of arsenic in historic artifacts), and to install bike racks onsite for employees and volunteers.

The Maine Development Foundation started in 1978 as a nonpartisan organization whose aim is to further sustainable, long-term economic growth in Maine. Healthy Maine Streets was launched by the Maine Downtown Center portion of the foundation in collaboration with Medical Care Development Public Health, in October 2012 after a federal grant of more than $1.5 million was given to the foundation.

The aim for Healthy Maine Streets is to facilitate healthy lifestyles at the workplace.

“Healthy Maine Streets connects small businesses with creative opportunities to make the healthy choice the easy choice. Healthy people build downtown vitality, fuel economic growth and strengthen our quality of place for future generations,” according to the website.

Local wellness councils, through Healthy Maine Streets, have been established in more than 20 towns across Maine since 2012.

Top wellness areas addressed through the grant include weight, nutrition, physical activity, tobacco use and emotional and social well-being.

The Healthy Maine Streets local team is headed by Caroline Segalla, community development coordinator, and resident activist Ahmed Cianguilli. Both have worked to gather information and work with local businesses to raise awareness about healthy lifestyles.

Earlier this year, Segalla and Cianguilli visited 10 local businesses to discuss ways to encourage healthy lifestyles among employees, such as getting exercise during the day, and eating energy-producing foods.

Segalla and Cianguillia also work with the Community Development Department to spread similar information about place-based worksite wellness, such as the Pick Your Path walking map, which helps residents gauge walking distances around town.

The team also released two issues of the Kennebunk Healthy Times Quarterly E-newsletters that include information about the intention of Healthy Maine Streets, but also information about natural food stores, community gardens, recipes, fitness tips, exercise anecdotes and a list of upcoming local outdoor events. Kennebunk Health Booths have also begun making appearances at town events and festivals.

A team of residents, “Get Your Healthy On, Kennebunk!” will decide what to do in upcoming weeks with the $1,000 award.

For more information on Kennebunk’s team for Healthy Maine Streets, visit www.kennebunkmaine.us/index. aspx?nid=493. To learn more about the Maine Development Foundation, visit http://www.mdf.org.

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