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New wellness center is game changer for Wadena

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Over the last several weeks, I've shared three of the most important things you can do to maximize your personal health status: walk every single day for at least 30 minutes, eat five servings of whole foods and religiously adhere to your annual preventive medical exam.

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If you do these three simple things, decades of research tells us that you can expect to live a long and healthy life. It is really that simple.

But here's the challenging part -you have to actually do these things to reap the benefits of good health.

And, despite the fact that the best scientists on the planet reaffirm that exercise is the most powerful medicine available today, less than 20 percent of the population actually takes advantage of it on a daily basis. What's more, only a minuscule portion of the population makes it a priority to get their five servings of whole foods every day. And perhaps most concerning of all, almost half of the people in this country don't get annual preventive physical exams.

Tragically, it comes as no surprise that the collective health status of our nation's citizens is suffering greatly -

Wadena included.

But there's good news on the way.

With the building of the new community wellness center, Wadena has the opportunity to change its reputation as one of the least healthy communities in Minnesota to one whose best days are still ahead.

And there are a lot of people who are working hard to make sure that happens - business leaders, community groups and the health care professionals at Tri-County Health Care (TCHC).

Without question, the new wellness center brings hope to Wadena and the surrounding area. With the new facility comes the opportunity for thousands to get and stay healthy.

This is a big, big, big deal for this community.

In fact:

Imagine a state-of-the-art facility where people from all walks of life -the young, the old, moms, dads, working people, those who are struggling, everyone - can come together and take important measures to stay healthy.

Imagine a facility, where in the middle of winter people can walk, swim and workout without risking life and limb in subzero temperatures.

Imagine a facility that can host educational forums and programs where national, regional and local experts can provide help so that more can learn about their health and how to keep it throughout their lives.

Imagine a facility that can serve as safe harbor for kids who are at risk of falling through the cracks because they don't have a safe place to go after school.

Imagine a facility that can interface with TCHC so that the people of Wadena have greater access to better preventive health screenings.

Imagine a facility that can be utilized by the employees of Wadena businesses so that health care costs can be contained.

Make no mistake, the new wellness center (which will be completed sometime in 2014) is a great thing for Wadena because it brings with it the potential to keep the people of Wadena healthy and well - and that's a game changer.

Remember what I shared with you in my first article: He who has health has hope, and he who has hope has everything.

From where I sit, hope is on the way for the people of Wadena and the surrounding region.

And with the involvement of the city's business leaders, community groups and the health care professionals from TCHC, this new addition can make a huge difference in so many ways for each and every person in this great little community.

Stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks.

Dr. David Hunnicutt is the president of WELCOA, a resource for health and wellness in the U.S. He graduated from Wadena High School in 1979, and is giving of his time and his organization's resources to help community leaders with the launch of the new wellness center.

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