Health & Wellness in Hopkins County
This is the second in a series of summaries for Extension programming in the area of Family & Consumer Sciences. 2016 has brought many challenges, but many rewards when it comes to the health of our Hopkins County citizens.
According to The State of Obesity Better Policies for a Healthier America, released in September, 2016, Texas has the 10th highest adult obesity rate (32.4%) in the nation, while ranking 32nd (32.2%) in the prevalence of childhood overweight or obesity. Health issues related to overweight include diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and obesity-related cancer. While these numbers are alarming, the percentage of children ages 10-17 who are overweight or obese has decreased since 2003.
Hopkins County statistics are very similar to the state rankings, with a slightly lower percentage for adults (29%) according to www.countyhealthrankings.org. Adults reporting no leisure-time physical activity is 30% while 17% report to be current smokers. Hopkins County Family & Consumer Sciences Committee, along with the Community Health/Wellness Alliance, Sulphur Springs and Como-Pickton ISD School Health Advisory Councils, and community partners have expressed the need to continue addressing the topic of nutrition, physical activity, and over-all well-being. Several action plans have been implemented to meet the need.
1) Walk Across Texas, is an 8-week program to promote the healthy habit of walking and other physical activities. The goal is for participants in teams of 8 to log 833 miles (the distance from Beaumont to El Paso) during the 8-week period. 115 individuals participated in 2016
– 15 teams from City National Bank
– Miles logged – 12,589.29
– Economic impact – $1,569,848 based on potential health care cost savings and net value for lost wages.
– 16 females and 3 males could delay or prevent diabetes if they continue frequent physical activity
– Individuals indicated learning the importance of physical activity for the improvement of circulation, increased energy, helping maintain or lose weight, and potential for prevention or delay of certain diseases (hypertension, heart disease)
– Individuals planning to incorporate 30 minutes or more of physical activity most days of the week increased – 98 (85%)
2) Walk & Talk is a spin-off of Walk Across Texas which promotes physical activity, but also incorporates a nutrition component. Each week for the 8-week program, a simple nutrition message was taught along with occasional cooking demonstrations and hands-on participation, followed by at least 30 minutes of walking. The nutrition segments focused on increasing fruit and vegetable intake, as well as lean proteins, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products.
– 18 individuals completed the pre- and post- surveys
– 3 teams of Head Start parents
– Miles logged – 2,784 miles
– Three participants indicated losing weight since beginning this program
– Cooking demonstrations and nutritional lessons were taught prior to walking together on the school track.
– Post- surveys indicated an increase in the number of days participants were active for at least 30 minutes and a decrease in leisure-time inactivity.
– Economic impact for Walk & Talk was $220,852 and four females could avoid or delay developing diabetes if they continue to achieve 30 minutes of physical activity most days.
Incentive items included measuring cups, measuring spoons, veggie peeler, lunch kits, refrigerator and meat thermometers, spray bottles (for making sanitizing solution), shopping pads and sports bottles (for water), along with handouts and recipes to reinforce topics taught
3) Fresh Start to a Healthier You is a 4-lesson series featuring MyPlate, Fight Bac (Food Safety), Stretching Your Food Dollar (Food Budgeting), and Fruits & Vegetables.
– 15 individuals completed the pre- and post- surveys
– Individuals increasing fruit and vegetable intake from pre- and post- surveys – 11 (73%)
– Other indicators which improved from pre- to post- surveys: washing fruits & veggies before using, shopping with a list (and sticking to it), planning meals ahead of time, comparing prices
– When asked to describe one practice adopted after attending classes, participants response was: wrapping meat in plastic to freeze (food safety), adding more color to meals (variety), healthy shopping, washing all fruits (not just those with edible skins), involving kids in shopping and preparing meals, selecting more fruits & vegetables, reading labels
4) Better Living for Texans newsletter is a monthly newsletter focusing on a variety of nutrition, physical activity, and health topics, including a recipe with each edition.
– Prepared 12 issues in 2016 (English & Spanish)
– Households receiving the newsletter – 5,500
– Distributed to all Hopkins County schools, WIC, Head Start, Department of State Health Services, Community Chest, Hope’s House (faith-based food and clothing pantry), posted on Hopkins County Extension website
5) Hopkins County Family & Consumer Sciences Facebook page has weekly posts about physical fitness, nutrition, and well-being topics. The page currently has 150 ‘likes’, so be sure to check it out if you are on Facebook!
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension is making strides to address health and wellness in Hopkins County, and I want to personally thank those who have participated in program series, one-shot programs, subscribed to the Better Living for Texans newsletter, or ‘likes’ the Facebook page. Together, we are making a difference!
Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable – unknown