HOOPER -- If you live in Hooper, chances are, you're pretty healthy.
The city is this year's winner of the Healthy Community Award platinum level, given by the Utah Department of Health. The award recognizes communities that promote healthy lifestyles and activities.
"The Healthy Community Award is part of the 'A Healthier You Legacy Award Program,' " said Brett McIff, physical activity coordinator for UDOH.
"It was created in 2001 as part of the preparations for the 2002 Winter Olympics. The goal was to create a system in which communities, schools and workplaces would be recognized for efforts being made to promote the health of the communities in Utah."
Funding for the program comes from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, McIff said.
Cities can receive a platinum, gold, silver or bronze award. Clearfield received a bronze award this year.
"This is a great honor to be able to participate in this worthwhile program the state offers," said Sheri Bingham, health educator for Hooper.
"It truly is a culmination of city leaders getting involved and community members being given the opportunity to participate in healthier activities."
Bingham said the award encompasses six areas of focus that the city works on: general community, physical activity, safety, emergency preparedness, nutrition and healthy behaviors. Within those areas, policies must be written, and there must be an infrastructure and outcomes.
"This is a key element," Bingham said.
"There are policies in place to support and encourage healthy behaviors, such as the creation and maintenance of several walking trails, no smoking in parks and outdoor recreational facilities, safe playground facilities, sidewalks and crosswalks that meet Americans With Disabilities Act (requirements) and reduced speed limits in residential neighborhoods, along with many others."
Bingham said Hooper's infrastructure reinforces the policies that have been written.
"Over the past year, Hooper city has sponsored an annual health, safety and emergency-preparedness fair and is preparing for this year's, which will be held on Oct. 4," she said.
In addition, city employees and council and planning members participated in a healthier lifestyle challenge, which encouraged replacing unhealthy habits with healthier ones. A community emergency response team has also been organized and received training.
McIff said Hooper's general plan, with new subdivisions providing walking/biking paths that connect people in the community, was one of the factors that got the city noticed.
"This helps not only physical activity but also a sense of community, beautification and even economic development," he said.
Bingham said the city has noticed numerous outcomes from its new policies: More people are using the trails, more people are participating in the health fair, and all park and outdoor recreation facilities are smoke-, drug- and alcohol-free. Bingham said: "We hope to continue this program and add more awareness, education and activities for the residents of Hooper to participate in."