February 26, 2009

Health Improvement Plan Addresses Local Cardiovascular Disease Rate

The Cardiovascular Disease rate in Scotland County has been identified as a priority health issue by Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services MICA data, MDHSS Chronic Disease Profile and Scotland County Community Assessment 2007.

In order to address this issue the Scotland County Health Department partnered with University Extension, Scotland County Fitness Center, City of Memphis, Care Roller Arena, Scotland County Schools, Tiger Trails, WEALTH (we encourage a lifestyle thats healthy), which is a chronic disease support and education group, and Community Action Agency.

The Scotland County Health Department wrote a two-year grant to the Missouri Foundation For Health called Healthy and Active Communities. The grant targeted all ages to implement sound principles of achieving and/or maintaining a healthy weight, which includes health eating, regular physical activities and positive behavioral strategies. A panel was convened to address a plan for developing a local awareness campaign and a media campaign was executed. An incentive program for increased physical activity and improving nutrition was started. This involved partnering with the Fitness Center to offer scholarships memberships, the City of Memphis for pool passes and the Care Roller Arena for skating passes. These were all offered on an income basis. University Extension was utilized for nutrition classes. Some type of incentive and education program targeting physical activity or nutrition was offered every six months for the two years.

Two 5K walk/runs a year were organized and are now yearly events. These walks incorporated education and training challenges. A walk to Branson with a pedometer challenge has also become a yearly event where participants track their miles walked. The University Extension conducted a weight management class, which their focus was on lifestyles, exercise, attitude, relationship and nutrition. The health department offers screenings within the agency such as cholesterol and blood pressure screenings.

Outcome In 2007 there were 135 participants in the first 5k walk/run and in 2008 that increased to 150. The first fruit and veggie challenge showed a 29% increase in fruit and vegetable consumption but the participants numbers was low. The following year the fruit and veggie challenge combined with a walking challenge had a large number of participants and showed a 360% increase in five a day consumption and a 163 % increase in moderate activity at least five days a week. The walk to Branson, which started as an eight-week program was extended to 12 weeks, was a great success. After completing the walking challenge we saw a 100% increase in the number of people reporting that they were participating in moderate activities for 30 minutes a day at least five days a week. This was also a 67% increase in the number of people reporting that they were eating 5-9 fruits and vegetables at least once a week. The Fitness Center Scholarships were the biggest success with 181 memberships given, with the potential for over 300 people, out since November 2006. Pre and post surveys were done before starting each program.

The Health Department will continue to address cardiovascular disease by pursuing additional funding through grants, and developing additional programs and continuing partnerships within the community.

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