'Healthy New Albany' focuses on population health

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Medical experts agree exercise and diet are key to preventing chronic disease prevention. Walking is widely seen as a great starting point.

In the city of New Albany, walking is featured in one of Central Ohio’s premiere fitness events and attracts thousands of participants at all fitness levels.

It all fits into what’s called “Healthy New Albany,” an initiative spearheaded and led by Phil Heit, who is now the Executive Director. Heit is the founder of the New Albany Walking Classic and has had a lifelong passion for promoting population health.

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“Good health is the foundation of anything and everything we do because without your health you can't accomplish much in life,” Heit said.

He and the team at the Heit Center (named in his honor) have created a center that focuses on medical fitness.

Experts at the center work to integrate health care services, wellness and fitness programs to help people with both preventative and rehabilitative care.

People who come to the center get a physical assessment-- results used to help prescribe a personalized program. Heit pointed to the center’s cancer survivor program as an example.

“We also work with The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Ross Heart hospital to have programs here on cooking for heart health, education from cardiologists," he said.

Healthy New Albany is a movement beyond the Heit Center building and has its roots in the New Albany Walking Club which started in 2003 and evolved into what is now the New Albany Walking Classic.