The Tufts University’s “Children In Balance” (CIB) program, which is replicating its successful Shape Up Somerville childhood obesity prevention project in Fall River during a two-year study, sponsored a morning conference entitled "Healthy Fall River By Design" on March 19, 2009 at Government Center. Keynote speaker Mark Fenton set the stage for exploring ways that the systems, policies and environments in Fall River could be altered to better promote healthy living. Following an hour presentation on how to increase the "stickiness" or longevity of healthier activities, Mark led the group on a 45-minute walking analysis of Fall River's downtown environment. "It was amazing how many simple changes Mark was able to point out in that short walk that could make downtown more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly," notes Healthy Lives coordinator Mike Ramos. The morning ended with four hour-long workshops covering 1) food and nutrition, 2) the built environment and transit, 3) business and economic development, and 4) schools and education, including the Fall River School's Wellness Plan. The morning was followed by an awards presentation for both the 40 Healthy City Action Plan participants for 2008-2009 and a number of youth awards. Click here for the video of the conference. Click here for the Fall River Spirit article. For further information about the Children In Balance project in Fall River, contact Project Manager Marcia Picard at 508-324-2228.


(Top row, left) Tufts University Research Assistant Bridgid Junot welcomes the participant for the morning conference. (Top row, center) Pedestrian advocate and public health authority Mark Fenton helps participant understand the importance of moving from programs to policies in promoting sustained health behaviors. (Top row, right) Children In Balance Project Manager Marcia Picard describes some of the milestones that the project has already achieved in the past six months. (Second row) Mark Fenton leads a group from Government Center through the downtown neighborhood pointing out ways of improving pedestrian and bicycle access. (Third row. left)  UMass Extension Nutrition Program coordinator Pat Bebo consults with Derek Christianson from Brix Farm in Dartmouth before their break-out session on food and nutrition. (Third row, right) D.J. Wilson of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, City Planning Director Jim Hartnett and Environmental Officer Elizabeth Connell listen as Mark Fenton makes a comment during the discussion on the built environment. (Bottom row, left) Fall River City Councilor Steve Camara talks about downtown business development and the creative economy as Marcia Picard listens. (Bottom row, center) Healthy City Fall River coordinator Dr. David Weed thanks Community Development Recreation director Grace Gerling and United Neighbors director Jenny DiBlasi for their work in contributing to the health of those who live and work in the City over the past year. (Bottom row, right) Sharon Ford of the Family Service Association, Pat Bebo, Derek Christianson, Mike Mahoney of Saint Anne's Hospital, Marcia Picard and Mike Ramos all received kudos from Dr. Weed for their work over the past year/

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