November 3, 2004 | By: Aimee Heald-Nielson

A small northeastern Kentucky community is banding together to encourage healthier lifestyles for its residents. “Get Healthy Hillsboro” is aimed at people of all ages and is a part of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture’s Health Education Through Extension Leadership initiative.

“We wanted to focus on a small community in our county,” said Donna Fryman, UK Extension agent for family and consumer sciences in Fleming County. “Hillsboro is a close-knit community and they are away from the main county seat so a lot of the county activities are not available to them. We thought we’d take something to them so they didn’t have to travel. We’ve been overwhelmed by the participation.”

“Get Healthy Hillsboro” is a community-wide program that includes nutrition and aerobic classes, walking programs for adults and school children and pedometers for anyone enrolled in the program. About 140 people are involved in learning how to change their lifestyles to incorporate healthy choices.

“I had already been walking for about a year and a half,” said Hillsboro resident Connie Saunders. “I had some good success with it so I decided to take the nutrition classes and they have been wonderful. Even though I’d read about correct portions and serving sizes before, this was a great reinforcement.”

Fryman teaches nutrition classes in a local church basement and teaches adults and children about healthy food choices and serving sizes. 

“We’re halfway through the program and folks are already reporting they’ve lost inches and pounds,” she said. “They’ve learned so much and changed the way they’re eating. We want them to practice a healthier lifestyle and we’re giving them tools to do that. I’ve been excited because they are excited.”

Barbara Smoot raised six children and cooked in the grand tradition of an old country cook, which oftentimes included comfort foods high in fat and calories. She lives alone now and only has to prepare meals for herself. She said the program has made her aware of many things she didn’t pay attention to before. She started walking three or four years ago and now is involved with nutrition classes and aerobics through the “Get Healthy Hillsboro” program. 

“I love all this nutrition stuff,” Smoot said. “I never knew what aerobics was before and now I do. I just feel so good.”


Writer: Aimee D. Nielson 859-257-4736, ext. 267

Contact: Donna Fryman 606-845-4641