Get Healthy Utah News and Blog

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 wic.utah.gov 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...

Guest Post: Ensuring Access to Healthy Food - The Vital Role of WIC

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 wic.utah.gov to learn more.

Bike LanesNutritious food is not always guaranteed for everyone in our world today. Millions of individuals and families in the U.S. struggle to afford adequate and nutritious meals. Programs like the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) play a crucial role in improving the lives and health of vulnerable populations. Low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, infants, and children under the age of 5 can be served by the WIC program. WIC works to combat the problem of food insecurity by providing eligible participants with the means to purchase nutrient-packed foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy products, and protein-rich foods. 

Since its beginning in 1974, the WIC program has been known as a premier public health program throughout the world and has earned the reputation of one of the most successful federally-funded nutrition programs in the United States. The WIC program is cost effective in protecting or improving the health and nutritional status of low-income women, infants and children. WIC helps prevent costly health problems associated with inadequate nutrition, such as low birth weight, developmental delays, and chronic diseases. For every $1 invested in prenatal WIC participation, there is an estimated savings of $1.77 to $3.13 in health care costs within the first 60 days after the baby is born. Investment in WIC saves community dollars.

WIC aims to empower participants to make nutritious choices for themselves and their families by providing nutrition education. Nutrition education is a unique requirement of the WIC program and is provided to participants at least twice during a one year period. WIC provides individualized counseling and educates about the importance of proper nutrition during pregnancy, breastfeeding, and early childhood development. Participants receive guidance on meal planning, portion sizes, and how to incorporate a variety of nutrient-dense foods into their diets. These benefits continue to support individuals and families even after they leave the WIC program.

The WIC program plays a vital role in Utah’s fight against food insecurity and its work to build healthier communities now and in the future. WIC believes in a multi-faceted approach to supporting the Utah population and actively collaborates with and refers to other community programs and initiatives. There are 47 WIC clinics throughout Utah, serving individuals and families in each of the 13 local health departments. Visit wic.utah.gov to find information about eligibility criteria, benefits, and how to apply for the Utah WIC program. 

Guest Post: Green Streets and Mental Health

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 also benefit physical and mental health, and increase green space in a community without having to build new parks or open spaces
  • There is a correlation between areas with less green streets and poor mental health

Leota Coyne

Leota Coyne is a Master’s student in City & Metropolitan Planning at the University of Utah. As part of her program, she prepared a report on how Millcreek could improve the health of some of its more vulnerable residents through changing the built environment. A portion of her report is included below. Other communities can also learn from this case study how they can increase green space in their communities to most benefit their residents.

Mental health and heat-related illness are important health considerations in communities that relate to the greenness of streets. By completing street greening through the EPA model of ‘green streets’, street greening additions provide benefits beyond health such as stormwater management and climate change adaptation (EPA, 2022). Academic research supports that there is a connection between street greening and improved mental health as well as reduced heat-related illness or death. Street greening is a viable opportunity to support positive health outcomes. 

anatomy of a green street

Using this framework, areas in Millcreek with low street vegetation levels, poor mental health, and/or high vulnerability to heat-related illness were identified as spaces where street greening efforts may best influence mental health and reduce heat-related illness.

A vegetation analysis was calculated around roads in Millcreek using the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index. This analysis found that the western portion of Millcreek generally had less vegetation than the eastern portion of the city as of August 2022. Poor mental health indicators from the Utah Healthy Place Index and higher indicators of vulnerability to extreme heat from the Social Vulnerability Index were both concentrated in the western portion of Millcreek. On the other hand, the eastern portion of Millcreek had better mental health and lower social vulnerability in addition to more vegetation around roads. 

Screen Shot 2023 07 11 at 1.56.25 PM

Combining the mental health and social vulnerability indicators with the vegetation data shows that western Millcreek could benefit from street greening. Specifically, areas with little vegetation, poor mental health, and vulnerability to heat where street greening efforts may have the greatest impact on health. Other cities can use this model to identify areas where street greening can have a positive impact on the community and improve health outcomes.

Read the full report here.

View a presentation here.

Cover for Utah Foundation Report

Utah Foundation Policy Report on Active Utah Communities

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 to be a guide for city and town leaders who want to learn more about real policies that have been successful in Utah and elsewhere.

Screen Shot 2023 06 28 at 3.32.18 PM

This report is the second in a series of reports focusing on how policy changes can improve health in Utah communities. Get Healthy Utah, with the support of a UCAN (Utah Cancer Action Network) grant, partnered with the Utah Foundation to help fund this report on active living, and an upcoming report on access to healthy food, which will be released in July.

Some highlights from the report include:

  • City and town leaders have many options to increase physical activity! Some solutions might be expensive, but others are low- to no-cost.
  • Utahns want more trails and parks in their communities.
  • Physical activity is directly linked to how we build our communities. We can make more walkable and bikeable communities by zoning reform, improving streets, and increasing safety.
  • Many Utah communities are already doing great work to get people outside and moving!

To learn more, visit the Utah Foundation’s website, where you can download the report now.

Report Policy Highlights

Get Healthy Utah 2023 Advisory Council

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-level changes.

Here were our takeaways:

23