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Identity & Community

Live Well: National Health and Wellness Program Launches in Allegheny County

When he was sworn into office in January, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto tipped the scales at 240, the heaviest he’s ever been. Since then he’s dropped 12 pounds and has pledged to lose another 38 as a part of the Live Well initiative that he launched today alongside Allegheny County executive Rich Fitzgerald

According to Mayor Peduto’s non-profit and faith based manager Betty Cruz, Mayor Peduto’s shows how passionate the Mayor’s office is about this program.

“We want to be a leader in this, we want to encourage folks to be active, but we also want to lead by example,” said Cruz, “so the mayor made his personal commitment today which was fantastic, and a bold thing to share with everyone here.”

Organizations from throughout the area such as Citiparks, the AARP, and Imagination Playground joined Peduto and Fitzgerald at the Thelma Lovette YMCA in the Hill District to announce the launch of the program.

The event also featured healthy appetizers that were created by Bar Marco using ingredients from the Shop-N-Save located up the street as an example of how healthy and affordable food can be found within the community.

Live Well is a national program to improve the overall physical health of communities. Organizers in Pittsburgh aim to use the initiative to coordinate activities, events, and programs for individuals of all ages that encourage a healthy lifestyle. Cruz hopes the program will create a more thriving, vibrant, and diverse community.

According to Cruz, the program is designed to expand beyond personal fitness to improve the total health of the community by working with organizations such as Kiva to improve financial health.

“So yes, physical health is important, but if you don’t have a job and don’t have a home and don’t have resources to improve the quality of life for yourself and for your family then that can fall apart,” said Cruz.

According to the Mayor’s Chief Urban Affairs Officer Valerie McDonalds Roberts, just like staying healthy, this program isn’t a quick fix. Live Well will set a long-term tone of wellness for the region.

Roberts also said the initiative is meant to promote solidarity within the city.

“This is a launch of healthiness based upon: we are one whole community, all of us, we’re diverse but we’re all one,” said Roberts.

According to Roberts, every individual in the area has a part to play to make this program become effective.

“It cannot happen from the top down, that’s the one thing. This whole initiative may have been hosted by the Mayor and County Executive, but ultimately it’s everybody that was in this room from organizations to individuals that are going to make this vision even possible - to make it successful,” said Roberts.

According to Cruz, Pittsburgh’s model for Live Well was inspired by programs started in San Diego as a part of their own Live Well initiative.