Assessment of the Uses and Users of Healthier US and Healthy People 2010. Appendix 4: Emerging HealthierUS Programs

09/01/2005

Since the development of HealthierUS, many health departments have incorporated The President’s Recommendations for Improving Physical Fitness and Nutrition, Prevention and Avoiding Risky Behaviors into their health promotion activities. Some programs have used HealthierUS to supplement HP2010 activities while other programs have incorporated HealthierUS as a stand-alone intervention. For this appendix, NORC has conducted a literature review to identify emerging HealthierUS and HP2010 programs (besides Steps grantees) and report on their activities.

For this task, we analyzed verbatim responses from HP2010 and HealthierUS users, conducted an extensive review of published and gray literature regarding the initiatives, searched state health department websites, conducted a broad internet search using google.com, and studied posters and presentations of recent public health conferences in order to identify emerging HealthierUS initiatives. Users who received follow-up telephone interviews also were probed regarding new HealthierUS-related initiatives for this appendix.

Texas (State Health Department) is incorporating both Steps as well as the HealthierUS School Challenge in their chronic disease prevention, cardiovascular wellness, and obesity prevention activities. The Texas Department of Agriculture’s Square Meals program encourages schools to actively participate in the HealthierUS School Challenge in order to improve nutrition and physical activity among Texas elementary school children. Texas incorporates Steps principles through its Building Healthy Families initiative which encourages families to work together to improve nutrition and physical fitness. The Building Healthy Families Initiative is a collaborative program between the health department, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, The Texas Hospital Association, The American Heart Association, the Texas Hospital Association and HEB. Though this initiative does not receive Steps funding, Texas has been able to use a Steps model to include community organizations and stakeholders in contributing to this healthier lifestyle program.

Camden Country, NJ (Local Health Department) is using the HealthierUS program as a guideline for health education work with their community coalitions as well as their adolescent health and tobacco control programs. HealthierUS also provides insight into their programs for children, specifically through a nutrition program for toddlers aimed at preventing obesity and encouraging good nutrition. Though not a funded Steps grantee, Camden County draws upon both the healthierus.gov site as well as neighboring Philadelphia’s Steps program for guidance. Staff indicated a strong desire to build from Philadelphia’s Steps program wherever possible and hoped for feedback and collaborations with Philadelphia’s Steps staff. Camden County also extensively uses DATA2010 for HealthierUS and HP2010/New Jersey 2010-related activities and actively shares DATA2010 output with community groups for prevention and planning purposes.

Cold Springs Rancheria Indian Health Project (Tribal Organization) has used HealthierUS to develop a physical fitness initiative targeted towards all age groups. The 10,000 Steps a Day program is an intervention which encourages walking and provides incentives based on each 25-mile increment walked. The 10,000 Steps a Day program runs four times a year in 3-month increments. This intervention supports HealthierUS’s obesity-prevention and fitness plan and is an effective way to promote exercise in this high-risk population. They also consult HealthierUS to develop activities for local children, with a focus on outdoor activities.

Ohio (State Health Department) has incorporated both HealthierUS and Healthy People 2010 into their Healthy Ohioans program (www.healthyohioans.org), a key initiative of Governor Bob Taft. Healthy Ohioans promotes nutrition, fitness, tobacco management, and cardiovascular health through school-based and community initiatives. One such program is a competition for all schools to compete for having the best health and wellness programs. Healthy Ohioans also has strong corporate partners and a Healthy Ohioans Business Council. Governor Taft has convened an advisory council on physical fitness, wellness and sports, comprised of legislators, athletes, and fitness experts. The Healthy Ohioans program also funds local health departments with Healthy Ohio grants for cardiovascular health programs. Staff indicate that the driving power for this initiative is the strong support of the Governor who has made this initiative a hallmark of his administration. This program stands out from other non-funded HealthierUS users because of the funding opportunities and the political backing of the initiative. This suggests that strong government buy-in can allow for wide dissemination.

Utah (State Health Department), Division of Aging and Adult Services and the Eau Claire County, WI Department of Health have adopted the “Steps to Healthy Aging” program developed by the National Center on Nutrition and Aging as a complement to the Steps to a HealthierUS initiative. This program educates older adults on physical fitness and nutrition and serves as a complement to their health promotion activities for older adults. As this initiative increases in visibility through the support of the Administration on Aging, we anticipate further visibility of Steps to a HealthierUS and greater adoption of HealthierUS goals within health departments as well as community-based agencies.

As current Steps grantees are able to report results of their initiatives to the public, it can be expected that local, state and tribal health departments will be able to utilize lessons learned to implement or expand their own HealthierUS initiatives. These unfunded programs indicate the potential for implementing HealthierUS without necessarily needing Steps funding. For example Ohio has been able to create a statewide initiative incorporating both HealthierUS and HP2010 through the strong commitment of their governor, who has made the initiative one of the hallmarks of his term. Programs such as Utah and Eau Claire Country have been able to adapt toolkits designed for HealthierUS with considerable ease. As these types of specific HealthierUS programs are made more available, HealthierUS may be utilized in a different way than HP2010.

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