B-Well: City of Buffalo Wellness Program
Shifting any Community’s culture to one that supports regular physical activity and provides a more walkable environment for residents of all ages is an exciting and real civic challenge. Add in the elements of four very distinct weather seasons and you have an authentic test of community creativity and persistence. Impacting citizen regular physical activity at all life stages was one of the tall orders faced by the City of Buffalo New York’s “B-Well” Program and its’ many partners. Founded in 1989 the B-WELL program is managed for the City by the non-profit Wellness Institute of Greater Buffalo, “B-Well” made its’ first strategic decision to improve regular physical activity in the City’s older adult population. Successfully launching, in the Spring of 1992, the City’s first ever “Golden Years” Wellness Walk in the Park (Buffalo is blessed with a fabulous Olmsted park system) started the movement of the walking program. The initial Spring walk was expanded to a full series of Fall park walks (with their beautiful colors!) and into a Winter season of indoor walks in area malls and back into our County Parks the following Spring. Years later, with the growth of the City’s Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, we added the dimension of noontime Summer guided walks for employees and visitors to the Medical Campus. By 2007, “B-Well”s first humble Golden Years walk had turned into a year-round “Be Active” series of walks featuring multiple partners and opportunities for persons of all ages to gain the benefits of regular physical activity through its’ most popular (and least expensive) form : WALKING! But wait – our journey does not end there, as we added the Walk Your Children to School initiative to our menu. A City Bike/Pedestrian Committee was formed, Complete Streets legislation was passed and in 2014 a “metric” was added by counting the steps taken by the participants in the 50+ walks. “B-Well” and the Wellness Institute coordinates with their partners in the “City of Good Neighbors” and the County of Erie, New York. Leading the way to 10 Million Plus steps counted in 2014 was Wellness Institute Affiliate Explore Buffalo, which provides the Community with wonderful “walking” tours of Buffalo’s outstanding architecture and history. In 2015, “B-Well” and the Wellness Institute had set a Community goal of 15 million steps. January 2016 data compliatin totaled over 34 Million steps recorded with an ever growing Explore Buffalo again leading the way! For 2016 an ambitious GOAL Of 40 Million steps has been established In addition to the Be Active walks, local runs and walks are invited to add their steps into the 40 million steps goal. With all our partners (Incuding REFRESH magazine) and improving environmental support(new trails opening Spring 2016 in Tonawanda and North Buffalo), (and those branding Buffalo, New York as the best designed city in America), we are confident that our shared Vision of more physical activity and a more walkable and bikeable City and region is in the process of achievement.
WI's Haberstro is Certified Trainer for CDC's Work@Health Program...
In 2014, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched the National Work@Health Employer Training Program. The Work@Health Program is designed to train employers , from all sectors how to establish, expand and improve science- and practice-based health promotion strategies that lead to specific, measurable outcomes to reduce employee chronic disease rates in the work place.
The Wellness Institute of Greater Buffalo's Executive Director,Philip L.Habersto was selected by CDC as one of 60 participants for the National training program that featured a Train-The-Trainer module, intended to provide trainers with the skills and most current tools to provide employers with training to promote health in their workplaces to prevent or reduce chronic illness and disability, improve productivity and the competetiveness of participating employers through the CDC's Work@Health program.
WELLNESS INSTITUE SET 50 MILLION STEP GOAL FOR 2017 !! Wiil aslo strive to improve community walkability !
To positivly and sustainably impact our community's health . environment and economy the nonprofit Wellness Institute of Greater Buffalo and its many community partners have set a community wide physical activity goal of achieving 50 Million Steps walked/rolled in 2017 among all age groups in the BUFALO NIAGARA REGION ! With a primary focus on leading and promoting community walks and improving WALKABILITY The Institue will track and report quarterly the number of steps taken by participants in the walks that the Institute, its affiliates, community partners and friends achieve in 2017. In addition the Wellness Instiute Staff and partners will be available to comminities to train them on policy and built environment actions they can take to enhance community WAKABILITY. Wellness Institute Executive Director Phil Haberstro noted "The 50 Million+ Steps initiative,while having merit on its own, supports other community initiatves like the Erie County Department of Health"s cardiovascular health improving MILLION HEARTS CAMPAIGN ,the upcoming P2 Regional Walking initiative; IHA /BILLS Community HEALTH AND WELLNESS CHALLENGE and a wide range of community walks/runs that the Institute either leads , is a partner or supporter of. Phil added"The strategic path to a healthier community population is built on a foundation ofsustainable inter-sector and inter-disciplinary collaboration and a comprehensive approach to community culture support."
Leading the collaborative way is "Explore Buffalo", an Affiliate of the nonprofit Wellness Institute of Greater Buffalo. Explore Buffalo provides walking, biking and kayaking opportunities to discover Greater Buffalo's great architecture, history, and neighborhoods. Their mission is accomplished by providing guidance and encouragement to participants to develop their interest and skills in educating others on these valuable assets. Children are also offered the opportunity to learn about the history of Buffalo and their role in the future while offering health enhancing, social capital building, and environmentally friendly activities.
Explore Buffalo Executive Director Brad Hahn noted, "Adding up all of the people who have taken an Explore Buffalo walking tour in 2016 - currently about 17,000 - and multiplying it by an average of 3,000 steps per tour, we are currently contribiting over 36 MILLION steps! Our popular education and inspirational"WALKS" are real evidence of a community becoming healthier not only physically, but also socially, as people on our tours gain a greater appreciation of all that Buffalo Niagara has to offer."
Buffalo Bills and Independent Health announce 2016 Health and Wellness Challenge!
Independent Health ,the Buffalo Bills and Community partners(including The Wellness Institute of Greater Buffalo) are teaming up to give our community extra incentive to be healthier. Join the Fall 2016 Health & Wellness Challenge and be healthier while earning points towards exciting prizes by making healthy choices! You'll have a chance to win great prizes by enrolling in the free on-line SPRING 2016 Community Challenge. The Challenge starts in SEPTEMBER and runs through November 2016. ON Line Registration is open NOW~ Visit www.BuffaloBills.com/challenge
Participants will earn points by meeting three weekly wellness enhancing goals:
Work your way to: Being physically active three times a week for at least 30 minutes each session, Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables every day, and drink eight glasses of water each day. You can also complete one daily Challenge for additional points to gain more chances to win. Each Challenge integrates health tips that help you learn about fitness and nutrition, to stay healthy even after the Community Challenge is completed.
You'll receive daily emails as a reminder to log in and learn about each daily Challenge. Weekly prizes include Bills items or game tickets, with the grand prize being awarded for the Spring 2016 and Fall 2016 Challenge
Phil Haberstro, Executive Director of the Wellness Institute, is serving on the Community Advisory Committee for The Challenge and especially encourages Workplace wellness programs to be part of the Challenge
Sign up today at www.BuffaloBills.com/TheChallenge NewsFlash OVER 10,000 people have signed up for the Challenge in the past! -Registration is OPEN to all adults! Join the team for better health!!