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Lawrence Health: Pioneering a Healthy Community in Indiana

Lawrence, Indiana is a town focused on health. Located on the eastern side of Indiana state capital Indianapolis, Lawrence is a small suburb of the Circle City, a community that lies on the south side of Fort Harrison State Park. While lots of towns have the usual assortment of hospitals, gyms, and other health care facilities, Lawrence health goes beyond all that. For sure, there are Lawrence has several facilities dedicated to improving the lifestyle of the town’s residents, such as Community Hospital North and a branch of Anytime Fitness, but Lawrence takes a much more active involvement in the health of its residents than most other Indiana cities.

Video of Indianapolis performing arts during the grand opening of Community Hospital North in Lawrence, Indiana

The City of Lawrence is attempting to make its citizens more healthy through the Pioneering Healthy Communities initiative, a program designed to make Lawrence the “healthiest city in the United States.” Pioneering Healthy Communities focuses on being active and eating better, something that sounds easy but can be difficult to do. Lawrence is one of the few cities that makes a healthier citizenry a government priority: Greenwood has a similar program called Commit to Be Fit. Pioneering Healthy Communities is divided into four sections: Live, Learn, Work, and Play.

Each section of Pioneering Healthy Communities has a set of very specific goals to meet. The Live portion focuses on creating a better, pedestrian friendly environment in the city by improving Lawrence parks and trails, attracting newer, healthier Lawrence restaurants, and initiating a farmers’ market in downtown Lawrence. The Learn section is, not surprisingly, focused on Lawrence schools; goals include installing healthier vending machines, establishing a wellness curriculum at Ivy Tech Community College and Lawrence Central High School, and improving Benjamin Harrison YMCA.

The Play segment of Pioneering Healthy Communities will attempt to improve recreational space and accessibility in Lawrence; a Lawrence events calendar featuring fitness events and activities will be posted on the city website, and the community is trying to attract new gyms and health facilities. The Work section is focused on Lawrence businesses and provides them with wellness programs, creates more tobacco-free workplaces, and promotes better eating habits at work lunchrooms. The Pioneering Healthy Communities initiative covers all the bases of Lawrence health.

Supporting the town government’s goal of creating a healthy city is the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, the guiding force behind Lawrence business. The Chamber of Commerce organizes a Lawrence event each year called the Health, Wellness, and Fitness Fair. This Indianapolis festival focuses on several areas of Lawrence health, including Animal Health, Personal Health, and Business Health, making sure that citizens and business owners are being as healthy as they can, both physically and fiscally.

It’s clear that health and wellness is a priority for both the city of Lawrence and the people who live there. The community has a wealth of parks, trails, and pedestrian friendly walkways in addition to a few gyms and a large Indianapolis hospital. Lawrence’s government is taking unprecedented steps to improving the health of its residents with the Pioneering Healthy Communities program, a four piece initiative to make Lawrence the healthiest city in America. The Lawrence Chamber of Commerce even works to improve Lawrence health with its annual Health, Wellness, and Fitness Fair. Lawrence, Indiana just might be the most health conscious city in the Hoosier State; other communities could certainly take a cue from Lawrence.