Wicklow town to undergo health challenge
Locals encouraged to exercise, eat better food and go for health checks in Irish Times/Pfizer Healthcare initiative
Irish TImes editor Kevin O’Sullivan, Mayor of Wicklow town Malcolm Earls andmanaging director of Pfizer Healthcare Ireland Paul Reid announcing details of The Irish Times/Pfizer Healthcare Healthy Town in Wicklow. Photograph: Cyril Byrne
Wicklow town, which celebrates its 400th anniversary this year, was last night unveiled as this year’s The Irish Times/Pfizer Healthcare Healthy Town.
A large number of local people turned out for the launch, held in the town’s parochial hall yesterday evening.
The Healthy Town award is an eight-week initiative to encourage local people to take more exercise, eat better food and go for regular health checks. It is in its second year and Wicklow town follows on from the inaugural winner Kilkenny.
Pfizer Ireland Healthcare managing director Paul Reid noted that 2,000 premature deaths could be attributed annually to obesity.
The health checks, which will be carried out in Wicklow town, will include conditions commonly suffered by people who are overweight including diabetes, hypertension and osteoarthritis.
Mayor of Wicklow town Malcolm Earls said he was “thrilled” with the choice, especially with the addition of a new port road including 5km of cycle lanes which are lit up and suitable for cycling and walking. He praised the local clubs involved in the initiative.
Local volunteer Susan Nichols said the town had already been on something of a health kick, as 120 local people had taken part in Operation Transformation earlier this year. “Being a Healthy Town is fantastic. This carries it on,” she said.
Irish Times editor Kevin O’Sullivan said Wicklow town was a strong candidate from the beginning due to its “vibrant sense of community” and rich physical environment.
The Irish Times has set up a dedicated microsite, irishtimes.com/healthytown.
There were contributions from Irish Times columnists Tony Bates and Pádraig O’Moráin, as well as clinical psychologist Sarah O’Doherty.