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Contact: Justin Park Community Engagement & Communications Coordinator Colorado Center for Community Development University of Colorado Denver | College of Architecture & Planning Mailing Address: CAP, Campus Box 126, PO Box 173364, Denver, Colorado 802173364 Physical Address: 1512 Larimer Street, Suite 750 Phone: 303-315-5866 | Fax: 303-315-5872 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Westwood Community Strives for a Better Lifestyle December 8, 2010-Denver, CO-Beginning in 2008, Livewell Westwood has strived to enhance the lives of the residents in Westwood Colorado through Zumba dance classes, healthy eating, and resident leadership. As a community of 16,000 residents, with 80% of people overweight, and 25% unable to speak English, participants of the project felt it was important to partner with the community to enhance the lifestyles of these residents. As a statewide project funded by Kaiser Permanente, LiveWell Colorado, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Denver Office of Economic Development there are an abundance of programs that are incorporated into this project in order to promote lifestyle improvements. Through diverse teaching and different education settings Livewell Westwood enhances healthy eating, active living, and resident leadership. Embracing Westwood as a community with their own unique aspects, residents engage in a knowledge-based program in order to promote weight loss, build community, improve lifestyles, and most of all have fun. This project is particularly important because it is a current issue that is affecting many around the nation. Research suggests that the communities we live in directly affect the health of ourselves as well as those around us. There has been a direct correlation with the produce we buy and the physical activity we partake in solely based upon accessibility and affordability. As a community with limited resources Westwood has become an overweight and obese neighborhood, setting a prime example in the importance of wholesome nutrition and physical hobbies. There are an abundance of programs that are incorporated into this project in order to promote healthy living. The programs included are: healthy eating, active living, resident leadership, community building, and local policy. These programs are reached by promoting vegetable gardens in the community and schools, promoting wellness teams, as well as dance programs such as Zumba and resident leadership whereas the community can work together to achieve their goal. Healthy eating is being increased by vegetable gardens and farmer’s markets around the community as well as increasing the accessibility and affordability of fresh produce

Westwood Community Strives for a Better Lifestyle around neighborhood stores. Three elementary schools and one middle school have begun by incorporating vegetables into their lunch menus as well as rewarding those who choose to walk to school. Livewell Westwood is also providing nutritional education to better inform the residents of healthy choices. Increasing safety, parks, and recreation facilities as well as creating exercise classes such as Zumba for adults has allowed for an increase in active living. Livewell also has worked towards reducing crime by calming traffic using proper signs and stop walks with the help of deputy, as well as reducing graffiti throughout the region. The most important aspect of Livewell Westwood has been to create resident leadership. They have implemented this leadership by organizing community involvement, policy improvement within the school districts, informing and empowering residents on healthy lifestyles, and utilizing existing resources to incorporate into their changes. The biggest accomplishment so far has come with the Zumba classes. Zumba is an aerobics program that incorporates Latin fusion dance in order to achieve a fun, but effective workout. With donations to churches and schools, space has been provided to teach these classes. Certified instructors instruct these classes three to four times a day for an hour per class allowing weight loss to become a great success. As Erica Kovaks says, “it’s a workout in disguise…I mean working out is so much fun with Zumba. It makes me laugh while keeping me healthy.” People are beginning to feel like they can let lose with the new exercise and really just have a great time. The main mission of Livewell Westwood is to create “growing relationships in our Westwood community to improve health, across generations to cultures. The Westwood Initiative promotes accessible, affordable, and safe options for healthy eating and active living for all who live, work, or play in Westwood.” It is a project with great insight; working towards an increase of 10% of peoples who walk or ride their bike to everyday destinations; a project that develops supportive and effective organizations. Livewell Westwood would like to see an increase of 10% per year in residents who report eating three of more vegetables per day. Westwood is a community full of diversity embracing the help they are receiving from the Livewell program. By 2014 Livewell Westwood hopes to accomplish a thorough, effective program that changed lives and taught many new ways to lifestyle improvements. For more information on the Livewell Westwood program please visit Or contact Justin Park at The Colorado Center for Community Development (CCCD) is a community service center for the College of Architecture and Planning at the University of Colorado Denver. The Center seeks to improve the quality of community life by addressing a broad range of contemporary community problems using community development approaches. The Colorado Center works in communities large and small, rural and urban, in towns that never thought they needed outside assistance, and in neighborhoods historically underserved

Westwood Community Strives for a Better Lifestyle ###

Public Relations Press Release  

CU Denver Public Relations Press Release

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