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The ABCs of Health-Focused Well-Being

When it comes to obesity, the media and many educators and health professionals, focus entirely on avoiding (or reducing) excess body weight as a primary public health. In contrast, a health-focused approach emphasizes people developing healthy and enjoyable lifestyles rather than trying to achieve a specific body size, shape or weight. 

The ABCs of Health-Focused Well-Being, a publication from the NIFA-funded Wellness IN the Rockies (WIN the Rockies) project, focuses on the concepts and principles involved in a health focused (rather than a weight-focused) approach to well being.

In a health-focused approach, individual are important, but so are their “surroundings,” such as families, communities, and society. These surroundings are sometimes termed people’s “environments,” and they greatly influence available lifestyle options. The health-focused well-being approach requires that we pay attention to both the individual and their environments.

Lifestyles based on healthy attitudes and behaviors related to physical activity, food and eating and body image offer many benefits, including improved psychological well being and reduced risk for heart disease, high blood pressure and osteoporosis.  These lifestyles can also help people achieve a healthy weight.

The WIN the Rockies project sought to address obesity innovatively and effectively by assisting communities in educating people to:

  • value health;
  • respect body-size differences;
  • enjoy the benefits of self-acceptance;
  • enjoy physically active living; and
  • enjoy healthful and pleasurable eating.

NIFA’ Initiative for Future Agriculture and Food Systems awarded a grant to the  University of Wyoming for WIN the Rockies, the innovative and synergistic four-year health-improvement project involving Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, their land-grant institutions and Cooperative Extension Services, each state's medical education program, and other state organizations and community groups.  The project integrated research with extension and education at the community, state, and regional levels.

Publication and program contact:

Suzy Pelican
WIN the Rockies (WWAMI Medical Education & Public Health)
University of Wyoming
Family & Consumer Sciences - Cooperative Extension
College of Agriculture, Dept. 3354, 1000 E. University Avenue
Laramie, WY 82071
(307) 766-5177;


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