CHARLESTON, W.Va. — More than 350 West Virginians will be trying to find ways to help people get healthier during the first statewide Try This Conference which begins Friday at West Virginia Wesleyan in Buckhannon.

Possible local actions will be the focus of the 50 community teams from 44 counties that will be trading ideas to fight obesity during the event.

“It’s really way past time for West Virginians to sort of step up and realize that this is an issue that has really severe economic consequences, in addition to health consequences,” said Kent Spellman, executive director of the West Virginia Community Development Hub.

“We’re really trying, with the Try This Conference, to give people things they can take back to their communities and actually do.”

Spellman, who was a guest on Thursday’s MetroNews “Talkline,” pointed out some of West Virginia’s health statistics.

One in five eleven-year olds has high blood pressure, he said, while one in four is obese.  Among adults, one out of every three is obese and seven in every ten health care dollars are spend on obesity-related diseases.

“We’re all tired of seeing West Virginia on top of the worst health lists, so we’re joining forces to do something about it,” said Stephen Smith, director of the West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition.  He’s serving as the chairman of the Try This Conference.

Among other things, attendees will be launching a statewide physical activity network.  The community teams will also be eligible to apply for more than $50,000 in grants for other similar healthy local projects.

The Try This Conference wraps up on Saturday.

More information on the group’s efforts is available at

bubble graphic


bubble graphic


  • Rodney Hytonen

    That's easy -
    The biggest thing we could possibly do
    for public health, is end the destructive misery of fracking (unconventional, high volume, high pressure slickwater hydraulic fracturing, and the entire process from exploration through export.)

  • Bill

    Follow the money, thats what it's all about.

  • Brian

    Great idea but just another flash in the pan. I remember lots of similar initiatives - don't drown your food in ketchup commercials in the 80's to Jamie Oliver in Huntington to Morgantown walk a thons. What impact will it make? Sorry to say but health is a personal responsibility not a disability.