Get Healthy Utah News and Blog

April 30th 2024

Trilby Cox Trilby Cox is Co-Executive Director for Bike Utah, a Utah-based nonprofit. Bike Utah is partnering with Get Healthy Utah and Move Utah for the Connected Communities Summit this fall. Bi...

April 18th 2024

The Healthy Utah Community designation is valid for three years. To qualify for redesignation, communities must complete the following: Submit a new letter of commitment Continue to hold health...

April 18th 2024

Get Healthy Utah, in conjunction with the Utah League of Cities and Towns, is pleased to announce the newest Healthy Utah Community designees. Six cities and towns qualified this spring: Mapleton, Ore...

March 14th 2024

Get Healthy Utah partnered with the Utah Worksite Wellness Council and Utah Community Builders to host the second annual Utah Business of Health Event! The event took place on February 7th, 2024 at th...

March 7th 2024

Chet Loftis R. Chet Loftis is the Managing Director of PEHP Health & Benefits, a public sector health plan that covers over 170,000 members. He is also the new Board Chair for Get Healthy Utah. Go...

January 17th 2024

Morgan Hadden Morgan is the Program Coordinator for Get Healthy Utah. She graduated from Utah State University with a B.S. and M.P.H in Health Education and Promotion. Chances are, your city or t...

January 2nd 2024

Greg Bell Greg Bell is the outgoing Get Healthy Utah Board Chair. Greg previously served as president of the Utah Hospitals Association and lieutenant governor for Utah. In 2014, a group of us cre...

November 3rd 2023

Cindy Nelson Cindy is an Extension Associate Professor in Beaver County Utah with responsibilities in Family and Consumer Sciences and 4-H. She loves the people she serves, and the variety of progra...

October 17th 2023

Get Healthy Utah held its annual Stakeholder Retreat this October at the Viridian Event Center in West Jordan. This year’s theme was “Connection: Building a Culture of Health.” Topics included the con...

September 26th 2023

Devynne Andrews, JD Devynne Andrews is the Communications Coordinator for Get Healthy Utah. Recently, the Get Healthy Utah staff attended an advance screening of UnCharitable, a documentary about...

September 5th 2023

Get Healthy Utah, in conjunction with the Utah League of Cities and Towns, is pleased to announce the newest Healthy Utah Community designees. Four cities and towns qualified this fall: Coalville, Hol...

August 4th 2023

Dr. Amy Locke Amy Locke is the Chief Wellness Officer for the University of Utah Health, executive director of the University of Utah Health Resiliency Center, Professor of Family and Preventive Med...

July 31st 2023

Elisa Soulier Elisa Soulier is the Vice Chair for the Get Healthy Utah Board. She works as Director of Health and Wellbeing at Castell. She focuses on delivering more high value holistic care for pa...

July 17th 2023

Jennifer Porter and Rachel Bowman Jennifer Porter, RDN, is a Health Program Coordinator, and Rachel Bowman is a Nutrition Coordinator for the Utah WIC program. Visit to learn more. Nu...

July 11th 2023

Key Takeaways: “Green streets” have more plants, soil, and water-friendly systems than traditional streets Originally, green streets were designed to capture rainwater locally Green streets al...

Cover for Utah Foundation Report

June 28th 2023

The Utah Foundation recently released a report, Healthy Communities: Advancing Wellness and Safety, focused on policy solutions for Utah communities to increase physical activity. The report is meant...

June 9th 2023

Get Healthy Utah held its annual Advisory Council this May. We want to thank everyone who attended and shared their ideas on how we can improve healthy eating and active living in Utah through system-...

Two adults and two kids doing pottery.

May 16th 2023

Key Takeaways: Utahns are in a mental health crisis and need the healing and social connection that arts and culture can deliver. The arts foster connection, support the healing process, and com...

Healthy Utah Community Logo

April 24th 2023

Get Healthy Utah, in conjunction with the Utah League of Cities and Towns, is pleased to announce the newest designees of the Healthy Utah Community award. Six cities and towns qualified this spring:...

Children Eating Lunch at School

April 19th 2023

Kathleen Britton Kathleen Britton, SNS has served as the Director of Child Nutrition Programs at the Utah State Board of Education, since February 2014. Ms. Britton began her nutrition work as a Die...

Kids at Recess

April 10th 2023

Kimberly Clevenger Kimberly Clevenger is an Assistant Professor in Kinesiology and Health Science at Utah State University, with a background in exercise physiology. Her research interests are in th...

School child with healthy school lunch

March 25th 2023

Greg Bell Greg Bell is the Get Healthy Utah Board Chair. Greg is president of the Utah Hospitals Association, and previously served as lieutenant governor for Utah. Recent research in Great Britai...

February 27th 2023

This February, Get Healthy Utah and the Utah Worksite Wellness Council held the Utah Business of Health event, with the theme “Good Health is Good Business.” Leaders from Utah businesses and insurance...

October 28th 2022

Get Healthy Utah held its annual Stakeholder Retreat this October in Salt Lake City, with the theme “Building Healthier Communities.” A variety of leaders attended to learn more about their common...

August 3rd 2022

Organization: Get Healthy Utah Contact: Alysia Ducuara, Executive Director Location: 2180 S 1300 E, Suite 440, Salt Lake City, UT 84106 Program Details: The mission of Get Healthy Utah is to c...

July 14th 2022

In June 2022, Get Healthy Utah offered mini-grants to cities and towns that want to provide their citizens with better opportunities for healthy living. Cities and towns could apply for up to $5,000 t...

October 13th 2021

Each year, Get Healthy Utah gives Partnership Awards to organizations that have collaborated across sectors to significantly improve community health. This year at the Fall 2021 Get Healthy Utah Stake...

October 13th 2021

The Fall 2021 Get Healthy Utah Stakeholder Retreat was held in-person on October 7th in Salt Lake City. Attendees represented various sectors that have an upstream impact on community health, such as...

August 1st 2021

On June 30, 2021, Get Healthy Utah held a virtual information session on type 2 diabetes, the National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP), and the importance of Medicaid coverage. During the i...

June 2nd 2021

The Annual Get Healthy Utah Stakeholder Retreat was held virtually on May 5, 2021. The event focused on the One Utah Roadmap. Lt. Governor Deidre Henderson provided the keynote address. The closing s...

March 10th 2021

What is a wellness policy? A wellness policy creates a safe and healthy environment for students and staff to practice lifelong healthy habits. The school community (which includes parents, students...

November 3rd 2020

Social and economic conditions where we live, work, and play can impact our health status. These include income, affordable housing, safe places to walk, healthy food access, discrimination, and healt...

August 20th 2020

Get Healthy Utah is proud to have partnered with Comagine Health, Intermountain Healthcare, Utah Department of Health, and University of Utah Health to host the free virtual summit for worksites Impro...

August 4th 2020

Jeff Hummel, MD, MPH Medical Director, Health Care Informatics, Comagine Health Meredith Agen, MBA Vice President, Health Care Analytics, Comagine Health The COVID-19 pandemic has seemed both distan...

June 20th 2020

Guest Post by Brett McIff Brett McIff, PhD is the Physical Activity Coordinator for the EPICC Program at the Utah Department of Health. His research has focused on the perception of the built envir...

April 21st 2020

Rural communities often have poorer health outcomes than non-rural communities. This is due, in part, to barriers to accessing healthy food, opportunities for physical activity, and mental health reso...

April 15th 2020

A new, and timely, report from the Utah Foundation examines trends and challenges related to teleworking. Findings include: Teleworking seems to have a positive effect on productivity and employee...

March 24th 2020

Gyms, recreational facilities, schools, and extracurricular activities are cancelled. While we are all doing our part to stay home and maintain proper social distancing, it is important to be physical...

March 18th 2020

To help in preventing the spread of COVID-19, Utah schools are dismissed for a soft closure until March 27th. What does this mean for school meals? On average, 50% of Utah K-12 students participat...

February 20th 2020

Guest Blog Post By, Kate Wheeler, Child Nutrition Specialist, Utah State Board of Education Kate works on farm to fork and local procurement initiatives. Kate has an MPH from Emory University. Prior...

January 14th 2020

The Utah State Board of Education has provided Best Practice for Recess Guidelines. While not mandated, the guidelines support the Utah State Board of Education’s Strategic Plan Safe and Healthy Schoo...

Kids at Recess

Guest Post: Time to Stop Playing with School Recess

Kimberly Clevenger

Kimberly Clevenger is an Assistant Professor in Kinesiology and Health Science at Utah State University, with a background in exercise physiology. Her research interests are in the promotion and measurement of physical activity, particularly in children. 

For many, the mention of school recess brings back fond memories like being outside, hanging upside down, or making up new games with friends. These unstructured breaks are an opportunity for children to socialize, practice skills like conflict resolution, be creative, learn and apply learning, be physically active, and participate in spontaneous and free-play. Recess also serves as a much-needed break from academic pressures, the expectations of adults, and the structured and sedentary nature of the school day. It is the unstructured and autonomous nature of recess that sets it apart from other parts of the school day and makes it uniquely beneficial to children’s physical, mental, and social well-being.

In line with recent research, we recommend that all children, kindergarten through 12th grade, be provided at least 30 minutes of daily recess. Children in the United States are scheduled to have about 25 minutes of recess per day, an estimate that has declined over time, and falls short compared to other countries. Because it is often not required, recess time can too easily be reduced when something else comes up like testing or an assembly. This amount of recess is also disturbingly similar to the typical two, 15-minute breaks allotted to working adults. In line with the adage ‘play is the work of childhood,’ recess should be recognized as an essential part of the school day. However, providing high-quality recess is just as important as providing enough recess time. Overcrowding, limited options or equipment for all children regardless of weather, negative exposures like traffic noise, and lack of training for recess supervisors can lead to boredom, injuries, bullying, and other antisocial behaviors. 

While our goal should be to provide sufficient quality recess to all children, youth in middle or high school are often left out of conversations about recess, yet they stand to gain the most from the physical and psychological benefits of recess. Similarly, Black children and those at/below the poverty line get 10 fewer minutes of recess per day than their White or more affluent counterparts. These same children may have less opportunity for free-play outside of school. As stated by Olga Jarrett from Georgia State University, “since children who usually have recess consider it punishment when recess is withdrawn, one could consider that whole segments of the population are being punished daily.” 

We call on parents, educators, and community members to work together to promote positive change in the quality and quantity of recess provided to the children in their communities. However, change can also be made at the state or national level. Currently, no national policy requires schools to provide recess, and Utah is one of 29 states without a codified law in place recommending or requiring recess for school children. Recognizing the unique contributions of recess and ensuring all children have equitable access to these benefits can promote the long-term health and well-being of the children of Utah.

School child with healthy school lunch

Message from the Board: School Children Deserve Better Diets

Greg Bell

Greg Bell is the Get Healthy Utah Board Chair. Greg is president of the Utah Hospitals Association, and previously served as lieutenant governor for Utah.

Recent research in Great Britain shows that school children are getting about two-thirds of their calories from “ultra-processed foods (UPFs),” which are heavily processed during their making. UPFs include foods “such as frozen pizzas, fizzy or milk-based drinks, mass-produced packaged bread and many ready meals. Previous research has linked regular consumption of them with obesity and increased long-term risk of health conditions like Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.”

It’s much the same story in most Northern European nations, and it’s worse in the U.S. The U.K. study found home-packed meals tended to have more UPFs than school lunches because of national nutritional requirements. As the first world’s diet continues to devolve to manufactured foods with little fiber and fewer whole foods, we can expect more disease and obesity.

This is a public health crisis. We must all do what we can to slow the increase, and ultimately reverse the terrible diet our school children and society in general are eating.

Utah Business of Health Event 2023

This February, Get Healthy Utah and the Utah Worksite Wellness Council held the Utah Business of Health event, with the theme “Good Health is Good Business.” Leaders from Utah businesses and insurance payors attended to learn more about how and why they should promote health. Speakers shared specific ways that businesses can improve the health of their workforces and communities.

Greg Bell, President of UHA and Get Healthy Utah Board Chair


Greg Bell, president of the Utah Hospital Association, spoke to the need to improve health in Utah. Though often considered one of the healthiest states, data shows that health in Utah is in fact declining at an alarming rate, following the same trajectory as the rest of the country. This decrease in health is fueled by the increasing prevalence of inactive lifestyles, easy access to unhealthy food, and shifts towards larger and larger portion sizes. Reversing Utah’s poor health trends will require intense collaboration across sectors and system level changes. By getting involved, businesses can have a major impact on the health of their employees and their communities.

Chet Loftis, managing director of PEHP


As Managing Director of PEHP, Chet Loftis is familiar with both the costs of poor health and the opportunities businesses have to promote health. When businesses improve health, it not only reduces costs but improves their employees’ quality of life. He encouraged everyone to find innovative providers who want to improve the healthcare system. He shared six things businesses can do to improve health: 

  • Make employee wellbeing a strategic priority.
  • Find strength from within.
  • Find the right partners (including Get Healthy Utah!).
  • Help employees find their “why” for good health, and personalize wellness.
  • Leverage data.
  • Stay agile as new developments arise.

You can view Chet’s slide deck HERE.

Heidi Strickland, Utah Worksite Wellness Council

Alysia Ducuara, Executive Director of Get Healthy Utah 


Heidi Strickland and Alysia Ducuara presented on why good business is good health. Heidi spoke first about how businesses benefit from healthy worksites. While historically businesses implemented worksite wellness programs because of their cost savings, now more businesses are focusing on programs’ value on investment. The best worksite wellness programs address the whole person, and recognize that wellness changes over time. She encouraged attendees to apply for the Utah Worksite Wellness Awards, which recognizes innovative and successful worksite wellness programs. This year’s awards will be presented at the Annual Worksite Wellness Conference. She also invited anyone who is interested in promoting workplace wellness to volunteer on the Worksite Wellness Council.

Alysia spoke about why businesses should play a role in promoting healthy communities. She noted that where we live has a huge impact on our health, habits, and abilities. Businesses can get involved by partnering with community leaders and others working on promoting health. One opportunity is for businesses to join a community health coalition, like the one required by the Healthy Utah Communities designation!

You can view Heidi’s slides HERE and Alysia’s slides HERE. You can also review their handout HERE.

Panel Discussion


A panel of five Utah leaders shared how they and their businesses have promoted health. Alexx Goeller, from The Front Climbing Gym, talked about how businesses should partner with nonprofit organizations, rather than only providing money. Craig Weston, from Blunovus, reminded attendees that virtually everyone has been affected by mental health conditions, either personally or through a loved one. Kathryn Gibson, from ARUP, noted that direct costs are only a portion of the costs of bad health to employers. Donald Cherry, from USANA Health Sciences, exhorted attendees to design health-promoting initiatives that have the greatest impact. And Stephanie Larsen, from Health Equity, discussed tools employers can use to put healthcare dollars directly in the hands of their employees.

You can view Alexx’s slides HERE and Kathryn’s slides HERE.

Roundtable Discussions


Attendees wrapped up the event by participating in roundtable discussions on what their businesses are already doing to promote health, and what they would want to improve in the future. At the end, each table shared their insights with the whole group.

Get Healthy Utah 2022 Stakeholder Retreat


Get Healthy Utah held its annual Stakeholder Retreat this October in Salt Lake City, with the theme “Building Healthier Communities.” A variety of leaders attended to learn more about their common goal: to improve the health of Utah communities. We focused on how leaders across Utah can collaborate to promote access to healthy food, improve mental wellness, and increase opportunities for active living.

Get Healthy Utah Highlights

Alysia Ducuara, Executive Director, presented on Get Healthy Utah’s successes during the 2021–22 fiscal year. Over the past year, Get Healthy Utah awarded twelve mini-grants to communities to fund health-improving projects in their areas, and began a partnership with three Utah cities to pilot a Health in All Policies framework. We also distributed over one thousand Healthy School Pantry toolkits to Utah schools, and helped pass a bill providing Medicaid coverage for the National Diabetes Prevention Program

To view the presentation slide deck, click HERE.

Keynote Speaker:

Mick Cornett, Former Mayor of Oklahoma City


Mick Cornett is world-renowned for his efforts to transform Oklahoma City into a healthy and thriving community. A successful author and speaker, he shared insights from his experiences improving urban design, attracting significant sports franchises to his city, and helping his residents collectively lose over one million pounds. During the Q&A, Mayor Cornett led attendees in a discussion on how they could leverage similar initiatives to improve health and quality of life in Utah.

Data Lightning Round


Three organizations presented data on the health and wellbeing of Utahns, including survey tools used to gather information:

Healthy Places Index
Sarah Hodson, Department of Health and Human Services

In partnership with the Public Health Alliance of Southern California, the Department of Health and Human Services developed the Utah Healthy Places Index (Utah HPI). The Utah HPI maps data on social conditions that drive health across communities, such as education and job opportunities, access to healthcare, transportation infrastructure, and more. The data can be analyzed and compared by several small geographic tracts. The tool was newly developed this year and is now available HERE.

Utah State University Wellbeing Survey
Courtney Flint, Utah State University

Utah State University (USU) partners with city and town leaders across the state to conduct a free Wellbeing Survey. The survey assesses residents' wellbeing and attitudes about community issues, and helps to promote sound planning and decision-making among community leaders. Over 14,000 surveys from Utahns were collected from 2019 to 2021, and over 10,000 surveys were collected this year across 35 cities. The next round of surveys will be administered in 2024.

Utah Community Quality of Life Index
Peter Reichard, The Utah Foundation

The Utah Foundation regularly surveys Utahns on their quality of life. Though results have remained relatively consistent over time, the 2022 survey indicated a significant decrease in reported quality of life, fueled by an increase in living costs and a lack of affordable housing. Moving forward, The Utah Foundation will partner with Get Healthy Utah to conduct a policy analysis and determine which policies across the state are influencing health and wellbeing.

Get Healthy Utah Awards


Get Healthy Utah presented three awards at the 2022 Stakeholder Retreat. First, Representative Suzanne Harrison and Senator Evan Vickers accepted awards for their work on passing House Bill 80, which expanded Medicaid coverage for the National Diabetes Prevention Program. Second, the Utah Cancer Action Network accepted an award for their work to update the Utah State Cancer Action plan, and for providing Get Healthy Utah with funding to improve school pantries. And finally, East Midvale Elementary accepted an award recognizing their exemplary work on school food pantries.


Dr. Amy Locke, “Thriving in Communities”

Wellness is more than the absence of poor health: It is “the optimal state of health of individuals and groups,” which concerns “the realization of the fullest potential of an individual physically, psychologically, socially, spiritually and economically, and the fulfillment of one’s role expectations in the family, community, place of worship, workplace and other settings.” (World Health Organization) Dr. Locke shared that prevention is the foundation of wellness, through good nutrition, physical activity, sleep, and connection. She explained that we need to work together to overcome barriers to these activities, from an individual to a global level.

To view the presentation slide deck, click HERE.

Roundtable Discussions

Stakeholder Breakouts 2022

Attendees wrapped up the stakeholder retreat by participating in roundtable discussions on one of three topics: access to healthy food, active living, and mental wellness. Attendees discussed their diverse backgrounds, audiences, and projects to identify possible areas for future collaboration. At the end, each table shared their insights with the whole group.