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New measure follows city’s recent award for excellence in community health and wellness programs

community gardenOctober 9, 2009 (La Mesa) – A whopping 60% of La Mesa 5th, 7th and 9th grade students sampled and over half of all adults in California are overweight or obese, putting them at risk for stroke, high blood pressure, or other serious medical problems. To combat obesity, the League of California Cities has adopted a resolution encouraging cities to embrace policies that foster healthier lifestyles and communities, including a healthy diet and exercise.

On Tuesday, La Mesa’s City Council will consider whether to adopt the measure which calls for a redevelopment plan that would include community gardens, design plans to make La Mesa more accessible via bicycles and walking, improve access to fresh foods, and more. The proposed resolution also calls for promotion of employee wellness and urges the City to set an example for other area businesses by establishing an employee wellness program. Read the full text of the resolution here.

The City has already made significant progress towards improving the health of its residents.

On September 17 at the annual League of California Cities Conference in San Jose; the City of La Mesa was presented the 2009 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence in the category of Health and Wellness Programs for “ready, set…..Live Well” a community wellness initiative. Established in 1982, this program recognizes ten outstanding cities that deliver the highest quality and level of service in the most effective manner possible. The award is named after Helen Putnam, a parent, teacher, principal, mayor, and county supervisor


The award winning “ready, set…..Live Well” initiative is a partnership endeavor that has evolved from the La Mesa Community Wellness Program. This model program, adopted by the La Mesa City Council in July 2006, is now a growing network of community partners whose shared vision is to create opportunities that promote physical activity and good nutrition, and provide encouragement and incentive for community members to embrace habits that lead to lifelong health and wellness.


The work accomplished by the City’s partnership efforts with the LMSVSD positioned the City to receive a grant from The California Endowment to pursue establishment of joint policies and programs to promote health and wellness in the community and “ready, set…..Live Well” was born.


The Live Well policy team met during the first quarter of 2009 to establish policy guidelines for future programs and projects. Following the work of the policy team, tactical teams were established to draft a strategic plan to encompass a variety of subject areas devoted to community health and wellness. The City Council approved the draft strategic plan on September 22. The plan now heads to the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District (LMSVSD) board for its endorsement. Specific elements within the plan that have begun are funded through grants already received. Additional grant and private funding sources are being sought for other programs outlined in the strategic plan.


La Mesa is one of only two cities in San Diego County to receive a 2009 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence. The City of Chula Vista also received the award in the category of Internal Administration. This is the second time La Mesa has received the honor. In 2006 La Mesa received the award under the category of City-Business Relationships for The PARKS Project, a partnership endeavor between the City, local businesses, non-profits, and the LMSVSD that resulted in construction of the Junior Seau Sports Complex at Parkway Middle School and renovation of Briercrest Park adjacent to the Grossmont Healthcare District building.


The LA Mesa Council meets regularly on the second Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. and on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 6:00 p.m., with hearings set at 7:00 p.m., in the Council Chambers of La Mesa City Hall at 8130 Allison St. La Mesa City Council meetings are televised on cable channel 24, within La Mesa city limits only.