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By Melanie Otero

What does it take to log 12,849,676 minutes of physical activity across the Village of Wellington to win the Palm Health Foundation’s 2019 Let’s Move challenge? According to Paulette Edwards, Wellington’s community services director, the key was community engagement. “We thought through all the ways our community comes together — government, community organizations, neighborhoods, schools, parks and businesses — and engaged every age group from pre-K to seniors,” she explained. Wellington bested 409 teams across Palm Beach County to log the most minutes of exercise during the Palm Health Foundation’s “Let’s Move: Commit to Change Physical Activity Challenge” in March — the second time in two years that Wellington won. The village accounted for a whopping 40 percent of the total 32 million minutes logged. The challenge, now in its seventh year, inspires Palm Beach County resi-

dents to complete and log 30 minutes of activity each day during the month of March. According to Marge Sullivan, a 17year Wellington resident and the Palm Health Foundation’s vice president of communications, Let’s Move was inspired by former First Lady Michelle Obama’s 2010 national program to decrease childhood obesity. “We created the challenge for adults and children to improve a variety of health issues through regular physical activity, including reducing the risk for diabetes and heart disease, improving brain health, and increasing chances for healthy longevity,” Sullivan said.

Palm Health Foundation Trustee David Wisehaupt, Wellington Mayor Ann Gerwig and Assistant Village Manager Jim Barnes.

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august 2019 | wellington the magazine

Startling statistics were also the impetus. The State of Obesity’s annual report cites that Florida’s adult obesity rate is currently 28.4 percent, up from 18.4 percent in 2000, and it has the nation’s 13th highest obesity rate for youth ages 10 to 17 at 16.9 percent. The importance of improving residents’ overall health — both mind and body — was what attracted Jill Merrell, owner of Wellington’s Ultima Fitness, to champion the village’s Let’s Move team since it began. “We’ve always been advocates of the community and getting people active,” Merrell said. “Ultima Fitness continually evolves to better serve our community. Let’s Move gave us the opportunity to show people how they can reach their wellness goals no matter their level of fitness. It’s so rewarding to see how people of all ages increase their energy levels and happiness through exercise.” Merrell opened Ultima to the com-

A fully engaged community helped Wellington best 409 teams across Palm Beach County.

Profile for Wellington The Magazine LLC

Wellington The Magazine August 2019  

ON THE COVER Participation from local youth helped Wellington take first place in the 2019 Let’s Move challenge sponsored by the Palm Healt...

Wellington The Magazine August 2019  

ON THE COVER Participation from local youth helped Wellington take first place in the 2019 Let’s Move challenge sponsored by the Palm Healt...