As the premier health care provider in the Jefferson County and surrounding communities, leadership at Fort HealthCare has determined that a wide-reaching health and wellness promotional campaign can positively influence the overall health and wellness of the entire community. The Let’s Do This! campaign that begins in earnest this January will encourage everyone to take personal accountability for their health and for the health of their loved ones. The 2013 Slimdown Challenge, open to everyone, is just one example of how Fort HealthCare is working to make its’ Vision Statement- “Be the healthiest community in Wisconsin” a reality.

The Slimdown Challenge begins on February 18 and continues for twelve weeks until May 13. Registration will occur beginning February 4 and requires an official weigh-in as well as a weigh-out at the end of the contest. Teams of four to six persons can join through a participating employer or through a community-based organization such as the Rock Lake Activity Center (Lake Mills), Whitewater’s Working for Wellness (W3), Heart of the City (Fort Atkinson) and the Cambridge Activities Program (CAP). Prizes for weight loss and drawings for continued participation will help Slimdown Challenge participants stay motivated. A similar Fort HealthCare weight loss challenge held among area employers in 2012 had a very favorable result: on average, each player lost about 10 pounds- the equivalent of losing two points on the body mass index (BMI) scale. The combined total weight loss was 6,504 pounds- just over three and one-quarter tons. Six hundred and eighty five participants completed the challenge.

At present, area employers are being recruited and trained in the 2013 Slimdown Challenge enrollment process. Persons interested in participating in the Challenge are encouraged to watch for further announcements from Fort HealthCare, a local community based wellness organization or their employer.

The Let’s Do This! campaign is very much in keeping with the Fort HealthCare mission to improve the health and well-being of our community, as well as the organization’s vision statement. “To become the healthiest community in Wisconsin, we must continually provide programs that address obesity, proper nutrition, increased physical activity and improved access to medical care”, said James Shulkin, director of planning and market development. “Access to care also includes making sure area residents pay attention to regular preventative care guidelines that tell them when to get mammograms, colonoscopies and other health screenings. And, we will encourage you to maintain or establish an ongoing relationship with a primary care physician or nurse practitioner.”

Jefferson County and surrounding communities can clearly be healthier and live healthier. Of the 72 counties in Wisconsin, Jefferson Country ranks 33rd for Overall Health Outcomes, 39th for Morbidity (overall health, physical health, mental health and babies born with a low birth weight) and 44th for Health Behaviors (alcohol and tobacco use, sexual activity and diet and exercise). Walworth County fares worse in two indicators- 38th for Overall Health Outcomes and 57th for Morbidity. Only Health Behaviors has a more favorable rank of 22nd. Additional information on the health of the region can be found at the website

“Our strategies for making significant changes in health outcomes, health behaviors and morbidity will focus on health and wellness education, awareness of critical health issues and encouraging healthful behaviors,” added Shulkin. “We believe the goal to create Wisconsin’s healthiest community is a bold, daring, challenging and incredibly important undertaking.”

To make this happen, Fort HealthCare has organized much of its community relations activities towards the following:
• Educate area residents as to the benefits of becoming the healthiest community in Wisconsin;
• Help each community be ready to embrace and act upon health-related messages;
• Help area residents to see the benefits of healthy eating, health screenings and lifestyle improvements; and
• Encourage individual responsibility and accountability.

Fort HealthCare messaging will encourage everyone to work towards a shared goal. The Let’s Do This! campaign is a literal call to action. It is positive, motivating and should appeal to all audiences, from individuals, to employers to community coalitions. The Let’s Do This! mark will accompany Fort HealthCare print advertising, billboards and social media including Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. This message will similarly be reinforced in radio advertisements.

Last, to help area residents, local non-profit organizations and employers find those resources that will help everyone become as healthy as can be, Fort HealthCare has created a web-based portal for wellness programming at This is the cornerstone of the Let’s Do This! Healthiest Community Campaign. The webpage encourages everyone to take action, make healthy changes, and improve their lives.