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Fixin' Healthcare

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Lifestyle Chronicles - NGA Wellness Where We Live - State Initiatives

Previous posts have introduced and outlined the National Governors Association Healthy America initiative that was launched the weekend of February 25-26 at their winter meeting in Washington DC. Healthy America is supported by materials prepared by the Health Division of the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices.

Specific projects by states address each of the action items for governors. The list of projects is derived from materials supplied by the NGA Center for Best Practices plus a few of which I am aware. A project is listed only once even though it might apply to more than one action item. It is not a comprehensive list but it is representative. I hope you will be impressed with the momentum that is building at the state and local level to promote healthy lifestyles and prevent disease. The governors deserve our encouragement and support.

Wellness Where We Live - Actions For Governors
Action 1:
Educate the public about existing community resources to raise awareness of services and opportunities.
  • Arkansas-As part of the Healthy Arkansas initiative, Governor Mike Huckabee and several private sector organizations published the Better State of Health Guide Book to provide one comprehensive source of community resources for healthy eating, physical activity, physical education, smoking cessation and disease screening. The guide provides information on walking trails and various recreational activities throughout the state, organized by county. A Web site offers both English and Spanish versions of the guide in a format that is easily downloaded.
  • Indiana-As part of INShape Indiana, Governor Mitch Daniels made information about community resources related to nutrition, physical activity and curbing tobacco use available on its website in a searchable database sorted by county. The state health commissioner hosted a series of regional summits throughout the state to identify innovative ways to address obesity and the lack of physical activity.
  • North Carolina-Eating Smart and Moving More is a resource guide Governor Michael Easley funded to provide a curriculum on adopting healthier lifestyles for families in African American churches. Materials also include information on conducting training programs for local health promotion coordinators and their community partners. Color Me Healthy is a curriculum that integrates healthy eating and physical activity into child care. Head Start, WIC and elementary education funding used the Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care (NAP-SACC) to assess and plan tailored programs for the curriculum, which reaches young children with consistent messaging across communities. The effort is complemented by 1-year grants awarded to 16 communities each year to improve nutrition and physical activity through policy and environmental changes.
Action 2: Partner with community organizations to communicate health information and encourage healthy lifestyles.
  • South Carolina-To broaden health programs, Governor Mark Sanford entered into a partnership with the 7th Episcopal District of the AME Church, which reaches more than 275,000 South Carolinians through 600 churches in the state. Together with the State Department of Health and Environmental Control and the Medical University of South Carolina, Health-e-AME was created to host "praise aerobics", which combines gospel music with aerobic exercise; to promote healthier eating through an AME cookbook; to provide mobile prevention screenings for cancer, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, sickle cell anemia and oral health; to provide information on local and state resources, such as hospitals, free clinics, dialysis clinics, hospice, home health agencies, county health departments and social services; and to offer healthcare and pharmaceutical assistance programs. Weekly health tips are given during worship services.
  • California-To launch Get Healthy California: Governor's Summit on Health: Nutrition and Obesity, Governor Schwarzenegger partnered with the California Endowment, a foundation that seeks to increase healthy choices at the community level. The meeting convened business leaders, educators, public health experts and government officials to cultivate commitments for essential reforms to combat obesity in the state. During the meeting Governor Schwarzenegger received commitments from many private sector companies to pledge funds and resources for campaigns to increase healthy lifestyles.
  • Massachusetts-Partnership for Healthy Weight focuses on policy and systemic approaches to increase healthy eating and physical activity. The partnership includes state departments of highways, parks and education; health advocacy organizations such as the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association; health insurers; health care providers; public and private universities; the YMCA Alliance; and activity advocacy organizations-the Massachusetts Bike Coalition and the Massachusetts Rails to Trails. The partnership spurred efforts to provide healthier schools lunches; to promote after-school programs to combat obesity and physical inactivity; to incorporate nutrition and physical activities into programs for the elderly; and to increase awareness of the importance of physical activity and opportunities to be active.
  • Arizona-The Obesity Prevention Program works with the Arizona Steps Along the Border Initiative (STEPS) to promote better health and prevent disease in border communities. STEPS cooperates with the state's Medicaid program to develop standards for providers to identify and manage childhood obesity. Arizona developed a program with WIC and the Arizona Nutrition Network to develop a portion size/healthy weight campaign that focuses upon parents and caregivers of children ages 5 years and younger.
  • Michigan-Governor Jennifer Granholm's office worked with state leaders to plan land use patterns that use construction, revitalization, transportation and recreational spaces to encourage physical activity. The state also partnered with other organizations to develop a Safe Routes to School toolkit, which helps communities identify safe strategies to increase biking and walking to school. This innovative tool brings healthy land use planning to the neighborhood level, promoting community problem-solving and helping to change the cultural norm.
  • West Virginia-The On the Move program collaborated with the West Virginia Main Street project to support "walkable communities", complementing several pilot projects that promote physical activity, including Physicians On the Move, Schools On the Move and Seniors On the Move.
  • Rhode Island-The executive agencies developed recommendations in the state transportation plan to support safe pedestrian and bicycle transportation. The agencies partnered with the Rhode to Health Coalition to create a year-round walking program.
Action 3: Promote civic and personal responsibility for better health.
  • South Carolina-Governor Mark Sanford and First Lady Jenny Sanford launched the Healthy South Carolina Challenge. The goal of the Healthy South Carolina Challenge is to increase South Carolinians' awareness of the association between physical activity, BMI statistics and smoking rates with rates of chronic diseases; to generate a competitive spirit among the counties in South Carolina for the creation of healthy changes and healthier lives; and to encourage collaboration and a sense of shared responsibility among different resources within the community. An award will go to the county that achieves the highest percentage improvement in its overall health and wellness as measured by percent change in BMI, smoking rates and physical activity. Fruit and vegetable consumption will be tracked for future years. Healthy Greenville is a county public health intervention project that is a challenge match with CardioVision 2020, which is a similar project in Olmsted County, Minnesota.
  • Tennessee-Governor Phil Bredesen launched "Better Health: It's About Time," a public awareness program that supplies the guidance and tools for individuals to take charge of their health and track progress. Tennessee conducted a complementary multi-media effort called "Respect Your Health" that encourages behavioral change to reduce preventable chronic diseases.
  • Washington-Governor Christine Gregoire encourages families and communities to adopt healthier lifestyles through the Governor's Community Health Bowl. In 2005, the Governor challenged residents to reach a statewide goal of walking one million miles over a five-week period. At the end of this successful challenge, the Governor joined school children walking up the capitol steps to reach the million mile goal.
  • Arkansas-In 2005, Governor Mike Huckabee launched Changing the Culture of Health, challenging all citizens to shed pounds and be active while state agencies and counties devoted resources to changing the health culture toward wellness.
  • Iowa-The Iowa Department of Health collaborated with Iowa State University Extension and Iowa Games to sponsor the third annual Lighten Up Iowa, a five-month weight-loss initiative based on improved nutrition and increased physical activity. Recognition and participation by Governor Tom Vilsack and other senior government leaders raised awareness of the program, which involved more than 19,000 Iowans in 2005.
  • Missouri-Governor Matt Blunt's Council on Physical Fitness and Health collaborated with the statewide Council on the Prevention and Management of Overweight and Obesity to sponsor Shape Up Missouri, an eight-week fitness challenge among Missouri cities. The Governor has engaged over 22,000 participants and issues press releases to publically recognize winners of the competition.
  • Indiana-As part of INShape Indiana, Governor Mitch Daniels launched the INnovators awards program to identify the "fittest" organization in the state. The INnovators program honors universities, counties, hospitals, religious congregations, large and small business, schools and state agencies that connect Hoosiers of all ages and incomes to state health and wellness resources.
  • Arizona-Governor Janet Napolitano's Council on Health, Physical Fitness and Sports awards public, private and community organizations for successful contributions that improved health, fitness or recreation of Arizonians. Three categories are: Council Awards for corporations, government agencies, media professionals, schools and individuals who significantly improved the health and wellness of state residents; Mayors Awards for contributions by individuals or groups to physical activity among communities throughout Arizona; and Tribal Awards for individuals and groups that encouraged physical activities among tribes.
  • Minnesota-Governor Tim Pawlenty's "Fit Schools" initiative recognizes schools that serve USDA-approved meals and provide numerous opportunities for students to be physically active. CardioVision 2020 is a project to prevent cardiovascular disease through personal commitment and community action for those who live and work in Olmsted County.
  • Michigan-Governor Jennifer Granholm honors healthy communities that provide opportunities for residents to walk or bike.
  • Vermont-Governor Jim Douglas annually honors large and small worksites that support access to physical activity and build a healthy workforce for Vermont. The awards have highlighted components such as pedometer-walking programs, fitness rooms and insurance benefits.
  • Montana-The Montana Department of Health and Human Services works with child-care providers to reduce exposure to indoor air pollutants by children and staff. Child-care centers that voluntarily meet requirements receive a "Healthy Air Daycare" window display.
  • Wisconsin-Governor Jim Doyle worked with Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of Wisconsin to distribute over 500,000 educational books on ways for parents to help their children lead healthier lives. The guide highlights the important role that family, realistic goals, nutrition and physical activity have in achieving good health. It includes a healthy-habit quiz to help families identify where to make changes in their lives, as well as nutritional guidance on creating healthier meals and recreational activities that parents and children can enjoy together.
  • Colorado-Governor Bill Owens joined the Great Outdoors Colorado Board in announcing an unprecendented investment of $60 million in state lottery proceeds to preserve and create recreational areas for state residents. The state invested $48 million to preserve 80,000 acres of dramatic landscapes in the Laramie Foothills, Front Range Mountain Backdrop and San Juan Skyway. The remaining $12 million will develop two new state parks, trails and regional outdoor recreation areas.
Action 4: Improve access to healthy options in disadvantaged communities.
  • Pennsylvania-Governor Ed Rendell increased healthy food options for thousands in low-income areas through the Fresh Food Financing Initiatives. The state leveraged grants and loans totaling $2.3 billion and entered public-private partnerships to build supermarkets, which have improved access to healthy foods and created 740 jobs.
  • Hawaii-Health care providers, local produce farmers , chefs and Kaiser Permanente joined to provide fresh produce to a disadvantaged community. Each week a farmers 'market sells produce at little or no cost to the community. The health clinic holds weekly cooking demonstrations using food sold at the farmers' market and provides recipe cards for participants, as well as information on how nutritious diets and physical activity can improve health.
  • Tennessee-Governor Phil Bredesen intitiated a program to enroll Medicaid beneficiaries with a BMI >30 in Weight Watchers. More than 700 Medicaid beneficiaries registered within 10 days at a discounted rate.
Action 5: Publicly share efforts by the governor's family to get and stay healthy.
  • South Carolina-As part of the Healthy South Carolina Challenge, Governor Mark Sanford and First Lady Jenny Sanford promote physical activity with a yearly biking or kayaking tour. South Carolinians are invited to join the first family or engage in some other way as part of the Family Fitness Challenge.
  • Georgia-Governor Sonny Perdue publically invited state residents to join him in his personal weight loss campaign. An estimated 2,500 residents participated in the six week effort, including workshops on selecting the best gear for sports, weight training, stress management and healthy grocery shopping techniques.
  • Arkansas-Governor Mike Huckabee has lost 110 pounds and runs in marathons.
  • Iowa-Governor Tom Vilsack runs marathons.
The next posting will address state initiatives for Wellness Where We Work.

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