As the nation becomes more aware of health issues related to nutrition and lifestyle choices, communities are struggling to find ways to make healthy living easier.
The University of Missouri is helping communities turn healthy ideas into sustainable changes through the Healthy Lifestyle Initiative. The initiative, underway at 13 sites in 12 Missouri counties, is aimed at changing environments to increase the availability of affordable, locally produced foods and access to safe physical activities.
The Healthy Lifestyle Initiative (HLI) began by partnering MU Extension specialists with community leaders in four Missouri counties. The MU Extension specialists provided assistance in the areas of agriculture, nutrition and physical activity, and business, community and youth development. Each team recruited a variety of stakeholders, including families, students, agricultural producers and healthcare providers, to develop and implement community plans focused on policy and environmental changes to support healthy lifestyles.
"The goal of HLI is to turn goals and ideas into action by identifying the resources and expertise already in place within communities," said Ann Cohen, HLI co-director and associate state nutrition specialist in the MU College of Human Environmental Sciences. "Initiative leaders work alongside community members, bringing together local resources and university expertise to create sustainable change. The models being developed can be replicated by other communities to combat sedentary lifestyles and related diseases, and foster positive changes and lifelong health."The four initial counties (Lafayette, Dent, Ralls and Boone), selected in 2008, have seen positive changes. In Lafayette County, schools and local farms are participating in Farm to Cafeteria, a national project that brings locally grown fruit and vegetables into school cafeterias. Chefs with the Bistro Kids program teach creative ways to cook fresh vegetables, and the Kids in the Kitchen curriculum in Ralls County encourages youth to eat healthily by teaching them to prepare simple, healthy foods.
"I am a big supporter of buying local and now that our community has weekly farmers markets, I'm able to support local farmers and prepare healthier meals for my family and friends," said Christy Fuenfhausen, a young professional and resident of Lexington. "The farmers market provides a wonderful opportunity to purchase a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. It has been a huge success already, providing a local networking system, different options for produce, new recipes and local programs."
Other counties have begun planting community gardens. In Dent and Boone County, schools are utilizing "grow labs" and "learning gardens" to teach kids about science, health and nutrition. Many students are experiencing farm-fresh produce for the first time.
"My fiancé and I have four plots in the community garden," said Becki Godi, MU Extension associate in Dent County. "It has been a great experience for my stepson to watch the growing process from seed to harvest. We often ride our bikes to the garden to water and collect our veggies. It is very satisfying to grow and eat our own food. It is a great opportunity to introduce people of all ages to the benefits of natural food."
"Sustainable transformation is a product of changing policies and environments," Cohen said. "Making healthy choices isn't always easy, but having access to fresh foods and safe places for physical activity makes it easier."
In spring 2010, the Healthy Lifestyle Initiative named nine expansion communities: Oregon, Camden, Scotland, Cooper, Sikeston/Scott and Mercer Counties, and Blue Springs/F.I.T, Healthy Young Partnership/St. Louis City and St. Louis University/Tower Grove South. HLI is a collaborative effort of the MU Extension program areas: Agriculture & Natural Resources, Business Development, 4-H/Youth Development, Community Development, Human Environmental Sciences and Continuing Education.
For more information, please visit: http://extension.missouri.edu/healthylife/index.htm
Emily Martin | EurekAlert!
How prenatal maternal infections may affect genetic factors in Autism spectrum disorder
22.03.2017 | University of California - San Diego
22.03.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
22.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences