Driving County Roads

An on line journal sharing my views. The content reflects my background as a rural person employed in agriculture and as a retired elected official of local government.

Friday, December 04, 2009

MORE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY, LESS TOBACCO, BETTER NUTRITION, and REDUCED OBESITY

Is it possible to organize community partners and make a plan to change people’s behavior in order to achieve these four strategies? The Minnesota Department of Health has issued such a challenge in the form of grant dollars made available to local community health boards. The plan is known as SHIP or Statewide Health Improvement Program.
The Brown-Nicollet Community Health Board is the recipient of grant dollars to implement a local plan which has been developed by a team of community leaders. The Brown-Nicollet group has identified the four strategies listed above. This is all about changing behaviors – perhaps one of the hardest tasks to be accomplished. However, the community teams in each of the counties are determined to give it their best shot.
Proposed interventions include the following.
· Incorporate brief periods of physical activity in the school day as part of the academic learning lesson. Fact: physical education can increase test scores.
· Adopt a walking school bus i.e. students walk to school in groups.
· Focus efforts to encourage increased physical activity in home-based day care settings.
· Expand concept of community gardens and encourage backyard gardening.
· Implement work site policies for tobacco free grounds including parking lots.
· Increase public awareness of community resources in place to help prevent heart disease and diabetes. One model that could be used in the Communities Acting Now to Prevent Diabetes (I CAN PD) program being used in Willmar, Mn.
This grant work will continue through the years 2010 and 2011. A coordinator has been hired by the Brown-Nicollet Health Board to administer this grant. end

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