From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 7, Number 45 - January 31, 2008
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Local Woman Aims To Improve Sublette County’s Health

by Trey Wilkinson

It’s no secret that obesity is a problemin our country. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows us how the rate of obesity is expanding – where in some states nearly a third of all adults are obese. There are a number of factors leading to these statistics and one local woman’s intention is to make Sublette County aware of these factors – and more importantly, do something about it. With her longtime interest in health, Pinedale resident Mary Lynn Worl is reaching out to Sublette County residents interested in living healthier lifestyles with her project, Healthy Sublette Nutrition Challenge.

Worl’s objective is to make individuals more aware of healthy nutrition, and to present nutrition activities that can become part of everyday lifestyles, “plus, have fun while doing so.”

“Wellness programs have proven to be very beneficial in terms of assisting individuals to make healthy lifestyle choices andfor business to decrease insurance claims, reduce sick days taken, increase morale and camaraderie,” Worl said. “I’m a firm believer that small changes can bring permanent results. So, if Healthy Sublette can help bring about small nutritional or exercise changes then there is a good chance it will lead to a more permanent lifestyle.”

Worl has been involved with wellness programs for 25-plus years. One piece of her work includes implementing and running a wellness program for Walla Walla Community College where she taught. A Ph.D. in exercise physiology, Worl has taught human anatomy and physiology. “I try to keep updated on wellness topics and this involves reading articles and doing web searches,” she said. “I use a number of organizations and sites, such as Healthy People 2010, American Heart Association, Wellness Council of America, National Heart and Lung Association, American Diabetes Associations, etc. I check to make sure information is correct and scientifically accurate.”

“A lot of my ideas come from what I have done previously, but I examine what other communities and organizations have done in terms of wellness programs,” Worl added. “I have a lot of ideas; however, the real challenge for me is the logistics of doing a countywide wellness program.” The Healthy Sublette Nutritional Challenge is an eight-week challenge running Feb. 3 through March 29. Anyone in Sublette County interested in participating is welcome to do so – free of charge.

So where did the idea for this challenge come from?

“When I initially had this idea I ran it by some people and received valuable input from such individuals as Laurie Latta of Sublette Community Partnership, Annie Sondgeroth of Public Health and Sue Holz of Proactive,” Worl said.

Worl also mentioned a few other businesses and organizations that are playing an intregal part in making the challenge a realty, including the Sublette County Rural Health District for providing funds for Healthy Sublette, as well as Rendezvous Pointe for being the operational organization for the project, which includes their board and staff. Worl mentioned Rendezvous Pointe Activity Director Beth Allen as being a “key person.”

Worl’s knowledge and research led her to Healthy People 2010, which has been significant to her challenge.

“Healthy Sublette is using Healthy People 2010 as a guideline for implementing programs,” Worl said. “Healthy People 2010 is a comprehensive set of disease prevention and health promotion objectives for the nation. These were developed by scientists both inside and outside of government. Rural Healthy People is a companion to Healthy People 2010 and addresses the health challenges facing rural America. Ten leading health indicators have been identified and are being used to measure the health of the nation. The leading health indicators are physical activity, overweight and obesity, substance abuse, responsible sexual behavior, mental health, injury and violence, environmental quality and immunization access to health care.”

Healthy Sublette has selected the indicator “overweight and obesity” as its first focus area. “Because of the importance of good nutrition and physical activity these areas will be emphasized,” Worl said. “ A major activity, Sizing Up Sublette, involves the calculation of an individual’s bodymass index (BMI), and then compiling and analyzing county-wide data to determine how Sublette County compares to national norms.”

“Calculations of BMI requires only height and weight, and is an indicator of body fatness,” Worl added. “Calculations were started at recent blood draws and will continue at the Health Fairs. In addition, BMI kits will be available for businesses and organizations to use. A number of nutrition and physical activity related programs are planned.”

So how do participants get started?

Beginning Feb. 3 all interested participants can kick off the challenge by filling out and returning a form (which can be found weekly in the Sublette Examiner, Rendezvous Pointe and at the Southwest Pioneer Senior Center) to any nutrition challenge box at Rendezvous Pointe or other various businesses and organizations around the county.

The first challenge is called “My Pyramid Challenge.” The objective is to eat and checkoff the food groups that are part of the new pyramid. The new pyramid is part of an overall food guidance system that can be customized to meet an individual’s needs. To find out more about the new pyramid, visit

If participants wish to work with others on their challenges for motivation or for any reason, Worl has set it up so teams can be formed. A team must consist of at least five people and no more than 15.

As an incentive,Worl has set up drawings for prizes following each challenge. Both individuals and teams will be included in the drawings.

As the challenge moves forward through the eight-week period seven more challenges (one per week) will follow the “My Pyramid Challenge.” Those challenges include “Five a Day Challenge,” “Breakfast,” “Grains,” “Food Labels,” “Fats & Oils,” “Beverages” and “Healthy Snacks.” Each weekly challenge will have its own goals for the individual or team, and like the “My Pyramid Challenge,” each week will involve the same routine of filling out a form and returning it to a nutrition challenge box. “I have attempted to make the challenges simple and workable for individuals and for families,” Worl said. “Also cost friendly.”

Worl is still looking for help with the county wide project. “To make this really work I will need help from individuals and businesses, churches and organizations,” she said. “This is already a collaborative effort on the part of various facets of our county, and will become more so.”

Worl has certain expectations for the Healthy Sublette Nutrition Challenge and hopes the interest is there. “I think there will be a fair to good rate of participation,” she said. “And as time goes by there will be more businesses participating, especially if people see the activities as fun and not threatening.”

The Healthy Sublette Nutrition Challenge is the second activity for Healthy Sublette. Worl’s next project and Healthy Sublette’s third activity will be Sublette On The Move, an implementation of the exercise component. Activities and challenges will center on becoming more active: walking, swimming, bike riding, etc.

But for now Worl has her hands full with the Healthy Sublette Nutrition Challenge.

“I’m firm believer that small changes can bring permanentresults,” she reiterated. “And it is rewarding to be involved in those small changes. Plus, what is more valuable than health?”

If you have any concerns about participating in this nutrition challenge you should discuss them with your physician before participating. Do not alter nutrition recommendations or a diet prescribed by your physician.

See The Archives for past articles.

Copyright © 2002-2008 Sublette Examiner
All rights reserved. Reproduction by any means must have permission of the Publisher.
Sublette Examiner, PO Box 1539, Pinedale, WY 82941   Phone 307-367-3203