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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498

Date: June 11, 2013


Dover, DE - Governor Markell's Council on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention recognized seven municipalities today for championing the health and well-being of their communities. Gold, silver, bronze and honorable mention accolades were presented during a ceremony held on the Delaware State University campus.

"Healthy communities promote physical activity such as walking, jogging, cycling and recreational classes. They also encourage healthy foods and portions, discourage tobacco use, and promote other healthy behaviors while integrating the needs of persons with limited mobility and disabilities, said Governor Jack Markell. "These efforts help prevent costly chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer and obesity. Congratulations to the winning communities and thank you for your work toward a healthier Delaware."

"With nearly two-thirds of Delaware adults and more than a third of our children at an unhealthy weight, we need the power of many communities coming together to tackle our obesity epidemic and other chronic diseases," said Rita Landgraf, Secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services. "These municipalities prove what can be done when we engage more people in embracing healthier lifestyles. Over an extended period, these types of changes will yield much healthier communities across our state."

The Governor's Council's Recognition for Community Health Promotion program recognizes the efforts of Delaware municipalities that bring together community-wide resources to enhance access to services, encourage positive behavioral changes and improve community health. The seven municipalities submitted applications, which were scored based on self-reported assessments of their efforts. Healthy efforts demonstrate effective planning and implementation of best practice and/or creative and visionary programs to improve physical activity, nutrition/healthy eating, tobacco-free lifestyles, healthy environments; promote healthy lifestyles and integration of the needs of individuals with limited mobility and disabilities in neighborhoods, schools and workplaces.

"Governor Markell established the Council on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention to encourage wellness as a way of life," said Council Chair Sandra Hassink, MD. "These municipalities showcase many healthy initiatives and are to be commended for their creativity and industriousness."

"We know people's health is impacted by a variety of factors other than just a regular visit to the doctor. For every dollar spent on preventing chronic disease, we save $5.60 in health care costs," said Dr. Karyl Rattay, DPH Director. "Under the leadership of these communities, Delaware is on its way to building a true healthy infrastructure that will help Delaware for years to come."

A healthy community has leaders in organizations of all types (e.g. schools, businesses, faith- based) who are committed to solving today's and tomorrow's critical public health problems. The seven healthy communities being recognized are making the needed system-wide changes to make their community an inviting place to live, work, learn, worship and play. The following communities are the first to receive this esteemed recognition:


Bethany Beach
"Bethany Beach is a walkable and bikeable community. Our goal has not only been a healthy community but one safer for walkers and bikers," said Mayor Tony McClenny. "We are planning further projects, including an extensive new walking trail."

City of New Castle
"Delaware Greenways was the spark that ignited our work," said Dr. Joanne Viola, City of New Castle. "They have been strong partners to the City of New Castle, as its leaders and its citizens committed to a healthier community."

City of Wilmington
"The South Wilmington Planning Network is honored to be recognized for promoting community health in the Southbridge section of Wilmington," said Bill Swiatek, Chair, South Wilmington Planning Network. "Our unique coalition of agencies and residents has undertaken several collaborative, healthy initiatives this past year including: a streetscape project, community garden, family-friendly activities, a solar park project and an asthma action plan. We look forward to competing for gold-level recognition next year!"

"As Dover grows and changes, we are working hard to ensure that walkable and bikeable areas are available for residents," said Dover Mayor Carleton E. Carey, Sr. "We are also working to create walkable and bikeable areas as we update infrastructure and streets. It's a community effort."

"This award really belongs to the residents of Middletown, who have continued to request healthier amenities in their neighborhood," said Kristen Krenzer, City of Middletown. "Middletown, its Mayor and City Council, are happy to meet those requests and thrilled to receive this award."

"As someone who had a massive stroke and recently lost a brother to diabetes, I appreciate the importance of physical activity and healthy lifestyles," said Mayor Vance Funk III. "The City of Newark is grateful for this honor and committed to continuing our good work."

"Our community cares about their health, and a symbol of this is our new walking club," said Seaford City Manager Dolores Slatcher. "We walk every Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at three locations: Hooper's Landing, Soroptimist Park and the Sports Complex. It's no cost and low impact and we say to just show up. We have a staff member there and little door prizes for those who complete the loop."

For more information, or to apply to the Healthy Community Recognition Program, visit or call the Division of Public Health's Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Section: 302-744-1010. The event was co-sponsored by the Delaware Center for Health Promotion at Delaware State University.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.