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!
On track to heal leukaemia
18.01.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern
Penn vet research identifies new target for taming Ebola
12.01.2017 | University of Pennsylvania
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
18.01.2017 | Information Technology
18.01.2017 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation