LA CROSSE, WI (WXOW)—When it comes to health care, doctors say investing $1 on prevention could save you up to $4 on costs down the road.
Transform Wisconsin, a health initiative, will invest $6.6 million across the state during the next two years with the goal of making those communities healthier.
The Healthy Living Collaboration and the La Crosse County Health Department received $460,000 to create healthier places to live, work and play.
It's all part of their goal to make La Crosse the healthiest county in the state by 2015.
Linda Lee, Nutrition Manager, La Crosse County Health Department said La Crosse is going to be focusing the money on healthy eating, active lifestyles and becoming smoke free.
They'll focus on healthy eating by bringing more vegetables to schools with school gardens and expanding the Farm to School program.
"While we've made some headway, we're not there yet," Lee said. "We really want to step it up to the next level, expand farm to school, expand physical activity opportunities for kids and adults."
They're also planning to make it easier for people to shop at the farmers market with out cash.
"To me that's very exciting because it means that people can access more fruits and vegetables using their EBT or debit cards. We don't tend to carry cash as much as we used," Lee said.
They're also going to help people live healthier by making it easier for kids to be physically active with shared use agreements between schools, government and community agencies.
The Health Department said in La Crosse, most smokers are young adults or people with low income, so they are going to focus more of their smoke free efforts on that demographic.
"I don't want to paint it as a class issue at all," Paula Silha, Health Educator, La Crosse County Health Department said. "It's just that's the population that still is marketed to heavily that doesn't live in an environment that promotes smoke free living."
The Health Department also plans to make more rental properties smoke free by helping landlords implement no smoking rules.
Monroe, Vernon and Crawford counties each received a $160,000 grant; they will use the money on similar programs.
For more information on Transform Wisconsin and volunteer opportunities with the program visit http://transformwi.com/.
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