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Alice Yoder, Director of Community Health at Lancaster General Health, was the keynote presenter last month on how to reduce obesity and build a healthier community at the Better Together: Lebanon County 2016 Summit.

The day-long program, sponsored by Penn State PRO Wellness, brought together about 200 area thought leaders to focus on how to build a healthier Lebanon County.

Yoder’s session stressed the complexity of solutions to obesity reduction and offered tips not only on programs and resources but also on the importance of making the healthy choice the easy choice through systems and changes to the environment. Her remarks also focused on the importance of working in coalitions; she pointed out that working with partners broadens reach, gives a range of perspectives and allows the group to accomplish goals beyond the scope of any single entity.

Yoder highlighted the many coalitions LG Health/Penn Medicine works with, including Lighten-Up Lancaster County; LiveWell Lancaster County; Let’s Talk, Lancaster; Hunger Free Lancaster County and Tobacco Free Lancaster County.

Yoder also talked about the top-to-bottom changes required in communities to address complicated issues such as obesity and the specific ways Lancaster has been successful in addressing the causes of obesity.

“In Lancaster, we focused on four main areas of change – encouraging people to get more exercise by designing a safe environment, changing how we design our school and workplaces to encourage movement and physical activity, creating better community spaces and making access to healthy food easier,” said Yoder.

Those born since 2000 may not live as long as their parents because of obesity, Yoder noted in her speech, adding that this supported the urgency in taking bold steps to make a difference.

“We can improve health and lives in Lebanon,” Yoder said at the conference. “And we can do it better, together.”

Special guest chefs demonstrate healthy cooking options in LG Health Lebanon demonstration kitchen.

Additionally, November marks one year since LG Health opened its Lebanon Health Center. In the last year, LG Health presented 16 events as part of the Lebanon “Be Well Events & Seminar Series.” These events hosted more than 1,000 participants in total. 

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