Committee works toward preventative health

A new health committee got a $20,000 grant last week Monday to put towards preventative health in Houston.

A new health committee got a $20,000 grant last week Monday to put towards preventative health in Houston.

Known as Houston ACT (Action Changes Things) Committee, the grant is a Northern Health initiative through Public Health to encourage healthier lifestyle, said Dawn Potvin, committee co-chair with Jim Aldrich.

Aldrich was appointed through Northern Health and Potvin through town council, to develop the healthy committee initiative in Houston, which came together November 2012, said Potvin.

“It’s time that we get everybody together and get active and be healthy, and focus on a healthier lifestyle,” she said.

Potvin says their main purpose is to educate and get people active, and they will use the grant money for public education, a website, and events that promote healthy living.

When they applied for the grant, ACT chose risk factors they would focus on based a Northern Health report, and deciding to focus specifically on men’s health and preventing chronic illness, such as diabetes, hearth disease and MS.

Potvin says they will be doing small events at first to let people know about the committee, but they are planning to expand and connect with lots of local businesses, organizations and clubs, such as the community garden with its natural, organic foods for healthy eating.

The ACT website will have links to everything, where new people to town can easily find healthy living opportunities and contacts for how they can get connected, said Potvin, adding that they want to get all the clubs and organizations in town posted on their site.

One of the big events ACT is planning is a big, community-wide Winter Fest for next year, probably on family day weekend, said Potvin.

She says the event will be huge and have things like a 24-hour outdoor hockey game, curling, skiing, and even a trade show in the mall showcasing  things like Health and Stroke Foundation, MS Society and Diabetes.

“I see it as involving the whole community, literally, with every activity that you can think of,” said Potvin, adding that it will be a collective effort involving all the local clubs and groups.

Potvin says their biggest concern is community involvement.

“That’s the biggest one that we’re going to be working on, is just getting everybody out,” she said, adding that they are hoping to get more people active on the committee, coming in here and there and getting involved in different events.

There are 12 executive members, all positive, enthusiastic and passionate about what they are representing, said Potvin.

“They are a really good group, it’s really exciting,” she said, adding that it’s hard to rein them in at times because they keep veering off with their excited ideas.

ACT meets this Thursday, and the last Thursday of every month, to plan how to move forward, and Potvin says they are eager for involvement from anyone interested in getting healthy and being active.

“It’s not inclusive. You can come anytime, you don’t have to be appointed, you just show up and we’ll get you involved,” she said.