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The La Crosse County Healthy Living Collaboration seeking nominations for its sixth annual Healthy Living Heroes awards to salute people who strive to make the county a healthier place to live, work and play.

“Public health is truly a collaborative, community-wide effort,” said Paula Silha, education manager at the La Crosse County Health Department who also is co-coordinator of the collaboration. “Hero awards are a way to recognize the local champions in our community leading the charge.”

Silha listed three behaviors — poor diet, physical inactivity and tobacco use — that she said contribute to four chronic diseases: cancer, heart disease and stroke, type 2 diabetes and pulmonary diseases such as asthma. Those diseases cause more than half of preventable deaths, she said.

“If we can influence healthful behaviors in these three areas, we can make a huge impact on health,” Silha said.

The awards are presented in three categories, including youth for ages 18 and younger, individuals for ages 19 and up and organizations. Nomination applications can be found on the Get Active La Crosse website.

Application materials must be submitted by Dec. 9. A selection committee of collaboration members will score the applications and select the winners. Winners will be invited to and recognized at the Jan. 11 meeting of the collaboration, which a broad base of community partners.

For more information, contact Silha at

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Mike Tighe is the Tribune newsroom's senior citizen. That said, he don't get no respect from the cub reporters as he goes about his duly-appointed rounds on the health, religion and whatever-else-lands-in-his-inbox beats. Call him at 608-791-8446.

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