02/12/17 — GoWayneGo revamps website, adds weight loss tracker

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GoWayneGo revamps website, adds weight loss tracker

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on February 12, 2017 1:45 AM

GoWayneGo has revamped its website, creating a newsfeed of nutrition information and a calendar of local health and fitness events and healthy recipes.

A weight loss tracking program has also been added to the website, www.gowaynego.org.

When the initiative was introduced in 2013, it was all about encouraging the community to get healthier.

The partnership between WATCH, or Wayne Action Teams for Community Health, the Health Department and Wayne Memorial Hospital included an invitation to take the "5-3-2-1-0" pledge. The numbers represented several goals -- five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, three square meals, no more than two hours of screen time daily, one hour of exercise and zero sugary drinks.

Fluorescent green shirts bearing the GoWayneGo logo popped up all around the county, a friendly reminder to become more conscious about eating and activity habits.

Naisha Coley was hired in 2015 as health educator with the program, with grants secured to implement more efforts.

At the outset, GoWayneGo was created to tackle the rising obesity problems. An estimated 75 percent of Wayne County adults are reportedly overweight or obese, with 32 percent categorized as physically inactive.

The program was designed as a "large-scale social change model" aimed at getting results, with a goal of a countywide weight loss of a million pounds.

Many signed up at the kickoff in 2013, during events held around the county and online. But it kind of died down in the time since, Ms. Coley said.

"We've made some changes to it to make it more user-friendly," she said. "There's so many apps and programs out there, I wanted to change the way it looked.

"We have been working since September to redevelop the website. It's kind of the same concept -- people can log in, they can sign their pledge and track their weight, but one of the great components is that they track their activity."

The efforts reflect the more popular culture.

"If you can see current trends now, weight loss is important but it's geared to activity," she said. "Weight loss is great but it's more activity-driven. You have Fitbits, those trackers on your phone where it tracks how much you walk.

"I don't want people to be discouraged because of weight because sometimes you might not lose weight. But you might have been able to stop taking your medication or you're able to walk more than you were six months ago."

The website also encourages residents to sign up as a group, sort of a healthy competition, if you will.

"I like that because it makes people accountable," she said.

The hope is to garner support from the community, as well as those who had previously signed up.

"We had like over 1,700 people," Ms. Coley said. "Those people are already in the system so they don't have to re-register. Their information is still there. So if they used it three years ago and they want to go back and see, that information is still there.

"We made the sign-up easier so instead of people putting all this information, just create a name and e-mail address."

In addition to the countywide effort to encourage better health, the website also contains resources and information, including a new downloadable restaurant guide and a listing of activity resources in the community -- from locations of walking trails and tracks to basketball courts.

Ms. Coley enthused about the partnerships she has forged, with corner stores and area churches, to broaden the message. And more projects are on the way, she said.

"This year is a little different than the previous years. We'll be working with daycares and younger kids this year," she said. "I have partnered up with four day care centers in the area and Partnership for Children. We're assessing the environment as far as physical activity and nutrition and trying to help them develop programs for the kids."

One example, she said, is Rebuilding Broken Places, which has a day care center and is interested in launching a walking classroom. The program features an MP3 player and headphones, with children listening to lessons while walking outside.

"(The recordings) are telling them to breathe, telling them how to be active but they're learning at the same time," she said.