Performance Improvement 2010. Promote Lifelong Healthy Behaviors


One grantee member of a five grantee consortium that designs and tests approaches to support the mental health of infants, toddlers, and their families within ACF supported Early Head Start programs successfully reduced maternal depression in new Latina immigrants.  The grantee succeeded in a population in which recognition of depressive symptoms can be complicated by other factors, particularly for mothers in the early stages of acculturation.  Establishing a trusting relationship was essential, and was found to be supported by hiring fully bilingual staff, as well as offering home-based options.  (9172)

A study of the results of a Head Start oral health project identified what works and what doesn't for promoting oral health among low income families and pregnant women.  Almost all centers reported a shortage of dental providers in their communities willing to accept public insurance plans and to serve young children.  Promising service delivery approaches and strategies for improving the oral health care delivery system and promoting oral health care prevention were identified: 1) adopt staffing structures that support the delivery of oral health services; 2) train staff about the importance of oral health and enable staff members to carry out oral health education with children and families; 3) recruit dental providers to serve Head Start families; 4) implement case management procedures to increase rates of preventive care and needed treatment children receive; 5) provide preventive care to children on site, at special events, or through referrals; 6) offer support services to families to help them make and keep dental appointments and educate parents about the importance of oral health; 7) educate children about how to care for their teeth and what to expect during dental services; and 8) integrate oral health-related activities and services into management systems. (9165, 9166)

One project determined the effectiveness of the micro-financing model in fostering community level involvement in improving the community's health by addressing lifestyle issues through targeted prevention and behavior change interventions.  The project offered funding opportunities ranging from $2-$5,000 to community-based organizations nationwide for disease prevention, health promotion, physical activity and improved nutrition activities.  Most interventions focused on increased physical activity (70 percent) and improved nutrition (60 percent).  Awardees used a myriad of innovative mechanisms to conduct their projects including health education techniques, technology and media modalities, and intergenerational connections.  Populations that benefited from projects were diverse; low-income communities reaped the most benefits.  Creating and fostering community partnerships to supplement projects with monetary and in-kind support proved to be important for sustainability. (9287

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