Obesity Prevention Program
Eastern Carolina Injury Prevention ProgramThe Injury Free Coalition for Kids of Greenville Obesity Prevention program will be a two-tiered initiative focusing on 1) access to healthy foods through policy change and 2) increased community awareness alongside family focused interactive classes. Healthy Choices: Influencing Policies, Communities and Families is our concept for addressing systems and policy changes that affect the entire family through access to healthy eating choices, movement through fun and exercise, and active lifestyles.
The project will occur in the community and school settings, with additional activities targeting in child care centers and homes. Consistent with other literature indicating that families in poor areas are most susceptible to injuries, poor eating habits, and overall lower health status, Injury Free Greenville’s initiative will focus on children 17 years of age and younger. The target area will be Wilson, NC, a small rural community within the local Injury Free project area whose children are at greatest risk of becoming overweight.
Wilson is a small rural area on the western border of our county. Residents in Wilson rely on the expertise of University Health Systems of Eastern Carolina Children’s Hospital for complex medical issues, specialty clinics, and Level One pediatric trauma care. Similar to many counties in Eastern North Carolina, Wilson is a low-income, low-educated area. North Carolina residents over age 25 with less than a high school graduation or equivalent represent 22% of the population while in Wilson that rate is 30%. The median income in 1999 for this area was $31,169. In 2003, Wilson’s unemployment rate was 8.9%. Forty-nine percent of housing units in Wilson are renter-occupied, another indicator of poverty showing that families cannot afford to own homes.
The program will focus on the following components: 1. Integrate national and state policies regarding nutrition and exercise into the local school systems and childcare centers through outlined policy strategies. 2. Change parental misperceptions that children understand healthy eating and regardless of age can make good decisions about eating, that increasing exercise will help children who are at-risk or who are already overweight to control weight, and that this is not only the child’s problem but a parental issue as well. 3. Promote community-wide awareness about healthy food choices and portion sizes for adults versus those for children including instruction and preparation of nutritious meals under time constraints.
The Healthy Choices: Influencing Policies, Communities and Families project will focus on three objectives. 1) Access to healthy foods in schools through policy implementation; 2) Community-wide training and community awareness efforts for improved lifestyles; and 3) Family-based interactive strategies promoting exercise and nutrition routines.
Contact InformationHerbert G. Garrison, MD, MPH
Leigh McManus, BS, CHES