Health initiative set to improve the lives of Tullamore’s young and old
The 2017 Pfizer Healthy Town has a busy schedule of events through the autumn in the Offaly town
It may take a village to raise a child, but it takes an entire town working in unison to create a health-conscious, forward-thinking community.
The focus of this year’s Pfizer Healthy Town is Tullamore in Offaly and over the coming weeks, the townspeople will be pulling together to ensure their inhabitants get fitter, eat healthier and put plans in motion to ensure a positive future for everyone.
Now in its sixth year, the initiative will once again be aiming to prove that every town has the potential to be a healthy town and with free events, health checks and seminars taking place over throughout September and October, it is hoped that the people of Tullamore will take up the challenge to make simple changes to their lives which will benefit their overall health both now and in the years to come.
Local businesses and clubs have joined together to highlight the organisations which offer services and information relating to healthy living.
Health checks and talks
Heart disease is one of the biggest preventable diseases facing the Irish population and throughout the Healthy Town initiative, representatives from Hibernian Healthcare will be in Tullamore to offer free health checks as well as advice on the best fitness routine to keep you healthy and, crucially, will be advising people on that all important first step.
Rose Finlay of Totalhealth Pharmacy says she will be running various talks during the coming weeks as she believes it is important for everyone to be aware of the need to look after their health and to reduce the stigmas surrounding certain ailments.
“I will be holding several events in the pharmacy including a talk on how to spot and deal with head lice as with the new school term upon us, this is something that people don’t want to talk about but need to be aware of,” she says.
“We will also be holding free blood pressure checks and offering advice on how to manage asthma as well as offering advice on the best way to quit smoking. These topics affect everyone and by talking openly about them, we are hoping that everyone will get on board and start to really think about health issues.”
The pharmacist says local people seem to be motivated with the idea of improving their health.
“There’s a great buzz about the town with everyone talking about what events they are going to and what changes they are going to make to their lifestyles,” she says. “I think it’s very exciting for the town to be involved in something like this as it includes everyone from the very young to the very old – we can all benefit from improving our diet and fitness routines – so it’s a win-win situation.”
And indeed, residents of the town, both past and present, do seem to be looking forward to the upcoming events, with almost three quarters of locals saying living a healthy lifestyle is of great importance to them. But as only 33 per cent believe they have enough knowledge to ensure they are living the healthiest life possible, the initiative looks set to bring about some welcome change.
On Tuesday, September 12th, Healthy Town ambassador, comedian and Offaly man, Neil Delamere will lead the townspeople on a 30-minute community walk in an attempt to encourage his fellow townspeople to get in shape.
“As an Offaly man, I am proud to be part of the 2017 Healthy Town programme,” he says. “And I would like to encourage the people of Tullamore, and the wider Offaly community, to make the most of the wealth of clubs, groups, facilities and resources that are at their fingertips in their home town to help boost their health and wellbeing.”
Cllr Frank Moran, Tullamore Municipal District, says the county of Offaly has a rich sporting heritage which plays a central part in the life of its people, so there is huge interest in the upcoming programme.
“There is already a wide range of sporting activities currently on offer in towns and villages across the county,” he says. “However, local people are [still] interested in increasing their participation in sport and physical activity so we are delighted that Tullamore has been selected as Pfizer Healthy Town 2017.”
Throughout September and October, there will be various events and activities taking place around the town aimed at getting everyone motivated.
Get Up and Go Week takes place from September 11th and on Thursday, September 14th, fitness expert Mary Jennings will give a free motivational talk to help everyone get in the mood for running (or even dancing if you are so inclined).
And well-known chef and cookery writer Catherine Fulvio will be on hand to host an array of cookery demonstrations. These events are open to everyone and are free of charge so should be a great way to kick-start a new and improved healthy diet.
Paul Reid, managing director of Pfizer Ireland said, “Healthy Town is designed to be an accessible, positive programme and for the past five years, we’ve seen communities around Ireland really embrace the concept. From local representatives, to businesspeople and members of the public, people have been keen to get involved and make small steps in relation to improving their health and wellbeing. We conducted some research into the current health and wellbeing of the people of Tullamore, and found that 80 per cent of people surveyed exercise regularly – we hope to grow this figure even further with the rollout of our Healthy Town programme.”
Dr Freda Lewis-Hall is executive vice president and chief medical officer of Pfizer Inc. She agrees and says community spirit is a great way of ensuring everyone gets on board with this new healthy initiative.
“I really believe that people become energised by the energy of others,” she says. “It’s all about achieving the right frame of mind and when you have experts and enthusiasts coming together to impart their wisdom and motivation, everyone else around gets excited too.
“I believe the reason Healthy Towns is so successful is because it helps people to figure out how to achieve the first small step and once that has been taken, they are enthusiastic to work out their own health goals and personalised plans.
“It worked really well with Navan last year and I’m sure the same will be true of Tullamore which will encourage other communities to join in their bid to create a wonderfully healthy town.”
For more, see www.facebook.com/HealthyTownIreland