Written by Kathy Walsh
BENNETT, Colo. (CBS4) – A government-sponsored effort to get people moving has prompted the Eastern Plains town of Bennett to set a healthy example. The small community of farming and friendly neighbors is excited about exercise.

“We all need fitness,” said 10-year-old Mason Wakeham.

But the citizens of Bennett are being encouraged to reach new heights with their health thanks to a federal grant called Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) distributed by the Tri-County Health Department.

Fifth grader Pearl Copeland said she can’t climb a mountain.

“But I can do something equivalent to it,” she said.

That’s the idea — climb a mountain or all of the Colorado peaks without ever trekking to the top. The program being promoted by Bennett is called “Flat 14ers.” There’s no need for travel; just take enough steps to summit a favorite Colorado mountain.

New signs around town help residents compute their climb. For instance, walking from the Bennett Recreation Center to King Soopers back and forth six times equals a climb up Mt. Sneffels. And they can get creative. Swim, swing, or even sweep, then convert the time spent into steps toward a mountain top.

Bennett schools are on board.

“We know that kids that are healthy and active do better in school,” said Jennifer Goodnight of the Bennett School District and coordinator of the CPPW grant.

Using the federal money, the town of Bennett has installed new trails. The recreation center has posted signs to get adult members on the move.

“I think that they’re realizing that if they get involved with their children they’re living a better life fitness-wise,” said Chris Raines, director of the Bennett Recreation Center.

I think it’s really exciting and it really is uniquely Colorado,” said Patty Boyd, CCPW Program Manager.

The program is part of a 2-year, $10.5 million CPPW grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The grant is a national initiative awarded to Tri-County Health. Approximately 70 percent of the grant funds are directed back to the communities to help implement positive, sustainable changes that make the healthy choice the easy choice.

The funding benefits Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties.

By scaling cliffs within their communities, people are learning there’s no reason to slide when it comes to health.

LINK: Communities Putting Prevention to Work

LINK: Flat 14ers


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