A Healthier Portland

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"We want to try and make Portland the healthiest city in the state," says Scott Manly.

Nine miles of trails wind through the city of Portland along the Grand and Looking Glass rivers.

"That's to facilitate people to make it a walkable community," says Portland Mayor James Barnes.

It's a community Manly would like to see become a healthier place.

"You live healthier. You have better work productivity. People are going to be needing less time off for sick leave. They're going to feel healthier," he says.

Manly, along with nine of his friends, came up with the idea to hold a six day-long Health and Lifestyle Symposium, beginning Monday.

"We have speakers coming in to share various things about cooking and the impact of food on health," Manly explains.

JoAnn Rochar is one of the speakers. She's a healthy cookbook author with a degree in home economics with an emphasis on nutrition.

She says, "The healthier we eat, the more whole grains, fruits and vegetable, the better our health is going to be, the lower our cholesterol, the more controlled our blood sugar will be."

"Through a change in diet, a change in discipline, as far as physical activity, after twelve weeks I lost 42-43 pounds," says Mayor Barnes.

He commends the organizers of the event for their proactive approach to health -- especially after having dropped in weight from 217 pounds. He says besides the symposium, the community will soon have other opportunities to get in shape.

"We did get a grant for putting exercise equipment along the trail in some areas," he adds.

It's an important step in Manly's goal of making the city the healthiest in the state. A goal he thinks Portland is soon on it's way to accomplishing.

"As people come to understand more of how the body functions, how you can make changes, they can make decisions," Manly says.

The Health and Lifestyle Symposium runs until May 31st. It's free and open to the public. For more information contact (517) 647-7446.

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