Active Southern West Virginia: Getting Appalachians Moving

With only one in three adults physically active, West Virginia has high rates of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. These health outcomes directly affect workforce readiness and productivity, economic development, and overall quality of life in communities. To get West Virginians moving – and health trends moving in the right direction –  Active Southern West Virginia is taking action. 

Active Southern West Virginia is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the health and productivity of citizens in Fayette, Nicholas, Raleigh, and Summers counties. Using ARC support, their Workplace Wellness program provides technical assistance to help employers better support the health, readiness, and productivity of the local workforce. It also aims to foster healthy work environments by removing barriers to productive employment and reducing health care costs for both employers and employees.

They’re also helping the next generation of workers and community leaders establish healthy habits through Kids Run Club. This program focuses on under-served areas and offers free ways for students to get physically active, learn important life skills, and participate in inclusive team environments.

What’s one of the keys to Active Southern West Virginia’s success? Their peer-to-peer program approach. Activities are led by trained Community Captains, which allows community members to learn from each other and work toward healthier lifestyles together. To date, Workplace Wellness and Kids Run Club have served nearly 3,160 working adults and elementary school children across four coal-impacted counties.