Website connects Schoharie County residents to healthy activities and food

Tuesday, April 16, 2013
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— People looking for healthy activities — and healthy food — can find both on a new website launched this month as part of an effort to battle obesity and diabetes in Schoharie County.

The new website,, along with a new Facebook page with the same name, are part of a grant-funded effort by SUNY Cobleskill’s Beard Wellness Center.

Hikes in the Catskill foothills, farmers markets, community gardens and health-friendly eateries are among a variety of health-related features of the new website, created with part of an $875,000 grant from the state Health Department.

Project coordinator Maureen Blanchard has been contacting municipalities and sites including Mine Kill State Park to coordinate a schedule for healthy activities residents can tap into from anywhere. Basketball courts in Esperance and Central Bridge and playgrounds in Jefferson and West Fulton are among dozens of exercise-friendly sites brought to one place on the website.

“We’re really trying to get the word out around the county and get places for people to be active,” Blanchard said Monday.

The college was one of 22 entities that received Creating Healthy Places grants in 2011 from the state Health Department’s Division of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention. The effort aims to reduce the incidence of obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases that statistics show pose a threat to a good portion of residents in Schoharie County.

Health Department statistics from 2007-09 showed 27 percent of pregnant women are obese, compared with the statewide average of 22.8 percent. The adult obesity rate for 2008-09 in Schoharie County is estimated at 66 percent, compared with the statewide rate of 59.3 percent.

The county’s diabetes mortality rate, about 27 percent, greatly exceeds the state rate of 16.8 percent.

Some locations listed on the website are miles from the county’s population centers — such as Mine Kill — so Blanchard said another grant is being sought to help with transportation.

“There’s a lot to do in the county. Some people don’t know about it, and some people can’t get there,” she said.

Mine Kill has established a “First Saturday Fun” schedule to tie in with the effort, giving residents and guests a monthly venue available for people to get active.

The grant program is also helping to fund other forms of outdoor fitness — such as paying for fitness equipment for the village of Cobleskill’s Iorio Park.

Blanchard said the website and Facebook page will be updated regularly, and more venues will be added as they become involved.

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