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Be Well Barron County

  • Need: A 2013 Barron County survey revealed 77% of adult males and 59% of adult females were overweight or obese, and that 23% of its students were obese.
  • Intervention: Be Well Barron County was created in association with the Medical College of Wisconsin to promote healthy eating and physical activity throughout this rural community in the areas of education, worksite wellness, healthcare initiatives, and community outreach.
  • Results: Success was due to academic engagement and community-wide participation by schools, worksites, and local restaurants.


Healthy Families, Healthy Communities Barron County, known locally as Be Well Barron County, was created to promote healthy eating habits and lifestyles in the lives of its rural community members. This program stemmed from the Healthier Cumberland Coalition, which promoted health and wellness.

The results of a 2013 rural survey showed 77% of adult males and 59% of adult females were overweight or obese. The district's students had an obesity rate of 23%. Targeting these statistics, the goal of this program was to decrease obesity and obesity-related health issues, such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Be Well Barron County used 4 intervention strategies:

  • Education
  • Worksite wellness strategies
  • Healthcare initiatives
  • Community outreach

Healthy Families, Healthy Communities Barron County was funded by The Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment through the Healthier Wisconsin Partnership Program in an academic partnership with the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Services offered

Excel with Be Well was a Be Well Barron County worksite wellness program that helps create and maintain employee wellness programs throughout the county.

Additional Be Well Barron County services included:

  • Health coach training opportunities
  • Advertisements for Healthy Restaurant menu options
  • Availability of nutritious recipe and produce cards at supermarkets
  • Promotional efforts at health fairs and community events
  • Programming at the Barron County Boys & Girls Clubs through the Healthy Active Youth program, which helps youth make healthy choices
  • Development and sharing of the Living Healthy in Faith Guide
  • Annual community-wide health challenges
  • Resource guides such as the Barron County Physical Activity Guide and the Eat Well with Be Well Cookbook
  • School wellness interventions, such as the Healthy Habits class (implemented in 3 school districts) that taught students about healthy lifestyles using an interactive program
  • Creation of the Motivational Interviewing in Action group, dedicated to community education motivational interviewing skills with real-time practice opportunities


Some of the previously documented 2013-2014 Be Well Barron County accomplishments were:

  • School wellness workshop offerings
  • Completion and continuation of employee wellness program in 15 sites
  • Healthy menu option displays (using table tents) by 9 local restaurants
  • Healthy purchase tracking by 2 grocery stores working with the project

The project's tools are still available.

The project was given a "No Cost Extension" through July 2016.


This rural county's dispersed population and widespread resources were the most challenging components in maintaining this program.

Contact Information

Laura Sauve, Public Health Program Manager/Health Officer
Barron County Department of Health & Human Services

Food security and nutrition
Obesity and weight control
Wellness, health promotion, and disease prevention

States served

Date added
October 16, 2015

Date updated or reviewed
December 24, 2019

Suggested citation: Rural Health Information Hub, 2019. Be Well Barron County [online]. Rural Health Information Hub. Available at: [Accessed 12 May 2021]

Please contact the models and innovations contact directly for the most complete and current information about this program. Summaries of models and innovations are provided by RHIhub for your convenience. The programs described are not endorsed by RHIhub or by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Each rural community should consider whether a particular project or approach is a good match for their community’s needs and capacity. While it is sometimes possible to adapt program components to match your resources, keep in mind that changes to the program design may impact results.