LITTLE FALLS - Focused on the hot topics of community health, the Initiative Foundation and eight partners will host a regional leadership conference called Minnesota Oomph! on March 6 at the St. Cloud Civic Center.
The conference follows the foundation's winter issue of IQ Magazine.
Issues include how businesses can deal with skyrocketing health insurance, if a community is designed for cars or people, whether obesity will cause children to have shorter lives than their parents, if locally grown foods make families and communities healthier and if the area is headed for a "silver tsunami?"
Mark Fenton, humorist, community health expert and national host of "America's Walking" on PBS, will keynote the event. Fenton also will show highlights of his "walkability" tours in St. Cloud and Brainerd, and then discuss how leaders could encourage more walking and biking opportunities.
Breakouts will cover community design strategies, childhood obesity, local foods and healthy eating, the rapidly aging population, and employer programs that reduce health insurance costs. Each session will be led by a statewide expert and include a panel discussion.
"We've seen these community health issues become greater challenges in central Minnesota, from skyrocketing health insurance to obesity in young children to how our towns are designed," Kathy Gaalswyk, Initiative Foundation president, said in a news release. "This conference is for people who maybe haven't thought about these things before, but who want to understand the big picture and how they fit into it."
Presenting partners are the Brainerd Lakes Chamber, Brainerd Lakes Integrated Health System, CentraCare Health System, Central Minnesota Community Foundation, Cuyuna Regional Medical Center, Happy Dancing Turtle, KLKS Radio, and the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce.
Registration fees are $45 before Feb. 15, and $65 before Feb. 27. For more information, visit www.ifound.org/oomph or call Anita at (877) 632-9255.
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