Imagine one website where you can find locations, events and resources for all sorts of healthy living and fitness opportunities in and around St. Louis. That’s the aim of the community driven website LiveWellSTL. We met a representative of the organization’ at the GO! Expo a few weeks back, took a test drive of its new online tool and then followed up with an interview to learn more of what the group is all about.
Here’s what Mary Jo Condon, the senior director at the Midwest Health Initiative, which is the organization behind LivWellSTL, had to say about the recently launched project.
LiveWellSTL just launched last month. Congratulations! What is the tool all about? How does it work?
Thanks! LiveWellSTL.org connects St. Louisians to healthy events and resources that fit into their busy schedules and budgets. We list fitness classes, places to find fresh produce, health education events and many other activities. Site visitors can search by day of the week, time of day, location and many other variables. They can also find events that are free or aimed at a specific group of folks, like families or seniors. We want to make it easier to move more, eat better and learn about your health.
What was the inspiration behind or need addressed by LiveWell STL?
With the support of two national health foundations, The United Health Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, we spent about a year talking with the community about how to improve the health of St. Louisians. We heard loud and clear that we needed to address our obesity crisis. Nearly seven out of 10 St. Louis-area residents is overweight or obese. But we also heard that there are many great resources already available. The challenge is connecting those resources to the people—whether they be people who are already fit and active or those who are trying to move more and eat better or manage a weight-related illness.
What is your mission, or what do you hope to accomplish through the tool?
We’re all busy people, right? We’re balancing work, family and a million other things. We want to make healthy choices, but it’s hard to even know how. LiveWellSTL.org brings together healthy resources and activities going on around St. Louis and makes them a simple, single click away.
We met you at the GO! Expo. What other sorts of events do you plan to appear at? Who do you hope to reach and engage?
We will be at health fairs, farmers markets, runs and all kinds of community events. We pretty much go wherever we are invited! We’re trying to reach any St. Louis-area resident who wants to move more, eat better or learn about their health. We are always looking for more places to show off our new site.
How has response been so far?
Amazing! People get really excited when they see the opportunity to find so many healthy resources all in one place. They love that it‘s free to post events and resources and free to find them.
We see that you’re backed by the Midwest Health Initiative. Can you tell us about this organization and what it does?
Of course! The Midwest Health Initiative, a non-profit organization, is St. Louis’ regional health improvement collaborative. It brings together physicians, employers, hospitals, health plans and community agencies to provide a forum where shared information and responsibility are used to improve health and the quality and affordability of health care. LiveWellSTL fits perfectly into MHI’s mission because it connects our community to ways to improve their health.
How can people best connect with LiveWell STL?
Visit LiveWellSTL.org. There, you can check out all of the great resources on the site, tell us about the things we‘re missing and even sign up for a weekly newsletter that sends you updates on your health interests. You can also “like” us on Facebook and “follow us” on Twitter. And, you can email us firstname.lastname@example.org.
You mentioned that it’s free to post events and resources on your website. How do you do that?
If you offer a class or resource that helps people achieve and maintain a healthy weight, it’s free to post it on LiveWellSTL.org. You can create an account for free that makes it really easy to keep all of your information current. We can also give you an icon to put on your internet site that will link your site visitors directly to LiveWellSTL.org.