Part of the reason for news coverage of health topics is to help readers, listeners and viewers live healthier lives. That usually requires a change in their behavior, which doesn’t come easy. One of the better motivators can be personal testimonies from people in similar situations. That approach is being taken by the Clinton County Healthy Hometown Coalition, a project funded by the Healthy Hometowns program of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.
The coalition has a column in the weekly Clinton County News, where coordinator April Speck often shares the stories of people who adopted healthier lifestyles: losing weight, increasing physical activity, eating more fruits and vegetables and so on. Right: most recent example; click on it for larger version.
started highlighting folks mainly because it’s more personal to show success
rather than talk about it,” Speck told Kentucky Health News. She said the series is also “a personal tribute my brother, who helped inspire [us] saluting folks.” Derek Beaty began “making healthy choices, eating right and exercising daily,” decreased his body-mass index and lost 53 pounds, she said.
Speck said she has had no trouble finding examples after the first one. “Once I
highlighted the first person then I was getting emails, calls and ideas of
other folks, so basically the community helped me recruit folks,” she said. So far, there have been eight columns with personal examples, and “We will continue to highlight folks who have made healthy lifestyle changes,” she said.
Of course, a community doesn’t need a a foundation-funded coalition to learn about local lifestyle changes that make a difference and set an example. All it needs is a newspaper or other media outlet that seeks out these uplifting stories.