New 16-week Healthy Orleans program starts Sunday

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 June 2016 at 10:00 am

Participants get discounted sneakers, healthy eating tips, lots of peer support

Fleet Feet personnel for Fit in 50

File photo by Tom Rivers– Fleet Feet personnel were in Albion in January 2015 doing fittings for running shoes as part of a “Fit in 50” program. This photo shows Shelia Lemcke of Albion getting fitted for shoes. A new program starts Sunday and gives 40 people a chance for discounted sneakers if they complete a 16-week program.

ALBION – A new fitness program will start on Sunday with a goal to help 40 people become healthier by losing weight and embracing healthier choices, including more nutritious meals.

The Orleans County Health Department received a $15,000 grant from the National Association of County and City Health Officials. The organization (NACCHO) is looking to fund community-based initiatives that promote heathy activities, sustainability and resiliency, said Paul Pettit, health department director in both Orleans and Genesee counties.

The Health Department is partnering with the Albion Running Club in a 16-week fitness program. Pettit said he saw the success of the “Fit in 50” program by the Running Club last year. That program had a weekly walk or run, and also measured participants’ weight and BMI throughout 2015.

Those measurements over the course of the year showed drops in weight and BMI, Pettit said.

“We tracked biometrics and could show positive data,” Pettit said. “Overall BMIs were down, weight went down, and there were sustained healthy lifestyles.”

Fit in 50 also offered 100 pairs of sneakers for $20 each as part of a grant through the Greater Rochester Health Foundation. The shoes normally would cost about $100.

The new Healthy Orleans program will offer discounted shoes to 40 participants. The program schedule is also compressed to 16 weeks. It will culminate with participants completing a 5-kilometer walk/run on Oct. 8 at the Memory Walk and Cross Country Run at Brown’s Berry Patch.

If they complete the 16 weeks, they have their choice for another pair of discounted shoes or a Fitbit activity tracker.

The kickoff for the program will be this Sunday at 6 p.m. at the Albion Free Methodist Church, 25 South Platt St. The deadline to register for the program was June 10, but there are still several spots open. The Running Club will accept applications until all 40 spots are filled. (To see an application, visit

Brian Krieger is executive director of the Running Club and helped manage the Fit in 50 last year. He said this year’s program welcomes people who want to improve their overall health by reducing their weight, eating healthier and also giving up smoking.

The program will have a nutrition expert meet with the group to discuss how to prepare meals for a healthy and balanced diet.

“One of our initiatives is improving health with focus on chronic disease and healthy living,” Pettit said. “This program will focus on participating in physical activity with classes on healthier eating. Another big component is the peer support.”