Kilkenny hosts new health project

Thu, Sep 6, 2012, 01:00

HUNDREDS OF people are expected to take part in a new initiative being piloted in Kilkenny aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of an entire town or city.

Healthy Town is a collaboration between The Irish Times, Pfizer Healthcare Ireland and the civic and business community of Kilkenny.

It will see a programme of health promotion events and physical activities taking place there over the next 10 weeks.

All events are free and aimed at encouraging the people of Kilkenny to improve their health. Participants are being offered free health checks of their body-mass index (BMI), cholesterol and blood pressure at the start and end of the programme to monitor their progress.

It is hoped the initiative will extend to other towns and cities.

At last night’s launch in Kilkenny, Kevin O’Sullivan, Editor of The Irish Times, said the newspaper had decided to develop an initiative with Pfizer “to create Ireland’s first Healthy Town” after a successful series of debates, held throughout the country, on issues surrounding public health.

“The aim is simple: to try to improve the health of a town or city’s population in a broad, collective way,” he said. “We examined several cities and towns across Ireland before deciding on Kilkenny.”

He thanked the local authorities for their co-operation as well as local civil, civic and business organisations.

Mr O’Sullivan said a significant part of the initiative was the provision of health checks, with the Centre for Health Behaviour and Research at Waterford Institute of Technology and the Human Performance Laboratory at Carlow Institute of Technology involved.

“We aim to recruit in the region of 400 to 500 people for these health checks, with a view to having at least 200 people at the end of the programme to provide comparison.”

Managing director of Pfizer Healthcare Ireland David Gallagher said the firm was committed to working towards a healthier world. “Many leading health issues are now related to obesity and diabetes and these will only be addressed when communities construct their local environments in ways that promote health and when individuals take action.”

Mayor of Kilkenny Cllr Seán Ó hArgáin said locals were “honoured” the city had been selected to host the pilot programme.

Healthy Town

The Irish Times will feature the programme in its weekly health supplement, HEALTHplus, and in a specially designed Healthy Town microsite at