Working for wellness in Polk County

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Polk Fit, Fresh and Friendly
By Linda Greensfelder

This column is the first in a series of monthly columns written by members of the Polk Fit, Fresh and Friendly Wellness Coalition (PF3) and designed to provide information about wellness initiatives in Polk County.

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You may think you don’t know Polk Fit Fresh and Friendly (PF3), but chances are that you actually do. The 80 members of PF3 include your neighbors and colleagues. Community members, leaders and health professionals work together in PF3 to plan and implement effective strategies to promote wellness in our community.

Wellness means much more than the absence of disease and requires a great deal more than access to medical care. The World Health Organization defines wellness as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

PF3 thinks of wellness as something intentional and ongoing. It involves understanding and making choices that support an active and fulfilling life.  Wellness means thriving by incorporating physical activity, healthy eating, spiritual comfort and positive supportive relationships.

The name Polk Fit, Fresh and Friendly reflects this understanding of wellness. The “Fit” in the name underscores the commitment to physical activity. “Fresh” highlights the importance of eating fresh, healthy food. “Friendly” emphasizes the integral role of spirituality and interpersonal relationships in overall well-being.

PF3, a coalition moving toward nonprofit status, has no funding and no paid staff.  The core of the work has been done through collaboration, bringing resources together to communicate, identify opportunities and create innovative ways to address them.

Current activities reflect a commitment to promote wellness by supporting initiatives targeting health priorities identified in the most recent Rutherford Polk McDowell District Health Department Community Health Assessment: Increase access to healthcare for all Polk County residents; Reduce tobacco and substance abuse; and reduce chronic disease (diabetes) through healthy living, physical activity and nutrition.

Some of the recent activities we have been involved with that support these priorities include: securing a group of funders to bring 2-1-1 Help Line to Polk County so that all Polk County residents have access to information about available services; ongoing collaboration with area public and private resources, with the goal of ensuring access to health care for Polk County citizens; and updating our original Polk County Area Walking Paths, Hiking Trails and Playgrounds Map to provide information and encouragement to be physically active.

Additionally, we are: partnering with St Luke’s Hospital to present annual Spring Into a Healthy Summer fair for children and families; supporting Project Lazarus initiative to combat prescription drug abuse and overdose; sponsoring NCCI grant for substance abuse prevention in Polk County; supporting RPMHD and St Luke’s Hospital’s efforts to complete periodic Community Health Assessments and Community Health Improvement Plans; and promoting local food initiatives and utilization of farmers’ markets.

Current initiatives reflect an effort to extend our partnerships and to gain a more detailed understanding of the wellness needs of our community.  To appreciate and respond to wellness concerns of local congregations, PF3 is in the process of reaching out to faith- based organizations.

Discussions are also currently under way to organize a collaborative effort aimed at developing a more in depth understanding of poverty in Polk County.  While PF3 knows that more than 15 percent of Polk’s population live below the poverty level, and fully 28 percent of Polk’s children live below the poverty level, it’s important to understand far more about what these numbers reflect.

PF3 invites you to join the organization.  The sole membership requirement is an interest and investment in promoting wellness in Polk County.  The next general meeting is scheduled for noon, Jan. 22 in the Community Room of the Polk County Library.  Please join PF3!

If you would like more information or would like to become a member of PF3, contact PF3 at

Linda Greensfelder has volunteered with wellness efforts in Polk County since she moved to Polk County in 2008. She has served as PF3 board chair since 2011. She is a licensed psychologist who consults with employers about employee selection and development.