Grady Wellness Program Encourages Westside Residents to “Walk the Line”
By Rob Brawner, Executive Director of the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership
Atlanta is making unprecedented investments in our transportation infrastructure, and the Atlanta BeltLine is one of many initiatives connecting residents with each other – and with healthier lifestyles. When the Westside Trail opened this past fall, the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership – with funding from Kaiser Permanente of Georgia – sponsored the Westside Trail Community Health Grant Program to improve health outcomes in communities along the trail. The grant program is one of many programs the Partnership offers to activate Atlanta BeltLine parks and trails – taking a “build it and help them come” approach.
Grady Health System was one of the first grantees out of the gate with their inaugural “Walk the Line” wellness program. For ten weeks last fall, a group of more than thirty Westside residents participated in the new program, which is designed to connect people with a variety of healthy activities and information while increasing participants’ exposure to the newly-opened Westside Trail. In addition to weekly trail walks, participants heard from Grady experts on a range of health-related topics and were treated to a healthy meal – all free of charge.
Hosted by Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, “Walk the Line” kicked off in late September with 34 participants and eight volunteer health coaches. Week one focused on getting to know participants and health coaches, completing health screenings, and setting individual health goals to work toward during the program. Thanks to beautiful fall weather, participants and health coaches began each class with a 45-minute walk on the Westside Trail—by far everyone’s favorite part of the program!
After each week’s walk, participants dished up a healthy meal—Zoe’s Kitchen, Souper Jenny and Good Measure Meals received great reviews—and settled in to hear from Grady experts about that week’s health topic. Participants learned about nutrition, heart health, diabetes, cancer and more. In addition to Grady experts, participants learned about stress management from the Wholistic Stress Control Institute and received a special tour of the neighboring urban farm, Truly Living Well (Note: Wholistic Stress Control Institute and Truly Living Well are also Westside Trail Health Grant recipients). With consistent, personalized health coaching and a few fun and healthy giveaways throughout the program, participants were set up to succeed!
At the end of ten weeks, the reviews were overwhelmingly positive and participants had walked off over 40 pounds! Participants also reported increases in the frequency and duration of regular physical activity and the amount of time they spend on the Westside Trail – all of which translates to a healthier lifestyle!
“Physical activity is critical to good health,” said Katie Mooney, Grady Community Benefit Manager and Program Coordinator. “We hope Westside residents take advantage of this great new resource in their neighborhood, and we’re excited to partner with other community organizations to help make that happen. Through ‘Walk the Line,’ it is our privilege to encourage residents to take the next step on their journey to wellness or start one while they’ve got a built-in support group and a health coach!”
Grady’s next “Walk the Line” session will begin in February. Learn more or sign up by visiting www.tinyurl.com/WTLspring2018.
See the orginial post on the Atlanta Beltline Partnership website here: