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A Year in Review – Better Living for Texans

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By Johanna Hicks, Texas AgriLife Extension Agent for Family and Community Health in Hopkins County, j[email protected]

Editor’s note: This is the 3rd in a series of program impacts, provided by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Family & Community Health – Hopkins County.

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Relevance

Better Living for Texans is a statewide program targeted toward helping families serve healthier foods and increase physical activity. In Hopkins County, approximately 4,021 receive supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) benefits, according to https://hhs.texas.gov.

Food insecurity, obesity, and lack of access to healthy food are other issues that impact this audience and have strong potential to negatively impact health. Obesity among adults in Hopkins County is 37% of the population. Similarly, 32% reportedly are physically inactive.

To help address these issues, the Community Health/Wellness Alliance, Master Wellness Volunteers, and Family & Community Health Committee assisted in planning, marketing, and presenting programs.

Response

The following programs were offered:

  1. Walk & Talk 8-week program for Head Start parents
  2. Healthy Snacking for preschoolers
  3. Better Living for Texans newsletter
  4. 55+ Health Fair on food budgeting and physical activity
  5. Be Well, Live Well series for 55+ group
  6. Newspaper columns on food safety, saving money at the grocery store, and meal planning

Partnerships & Collaborations:

  • Sulphur Springs Head Start staff is instrumental in promoting programs to parents
  • ROC (Recreational Outreach Center) allows us to use their facility for programming purposes
  • Master Wellness Volunteers and Healthy Texas Youth Ambassadors assisted with programming for kids and adults

Results

  1. Walk & Talk 8-week series:
    • 2 teams (Miles still being logged as of this writing)
    • Fruits & Vegetables focus
    • Weekly nutrition lesson and cooking demonstration and/or recipe sampling
    • Incentive items were provided to reinforce topics covered in the series
    • Information sheets and recipes distributed weekly
    • Master Wellness Volunteers and Tarleton State University student intern assisted in programming
  2. Healthy Snacking Teach Piece:
    • 175 Head Start children reached
    • Incentive items were provided
    • Interactive method was used\
  3. 55+ Health Fair:
    • BLT programs were promoted (Fresh Start and Walk & Talk)
    • Fruit and popcorn were provided for fair-goers as a healthy alternative to cookies and candy
    • Provided display on fast food and nutrition labels
    • Approximately 250 senior adults attended
    • 85 small bags of popcorn and 30 pounds of apples and oranges were distributed
  4. Be Well, Live Well Series (BWLW):
    • 7 participants; 2 volunteers
    • 7 (100%) completed pre- and post-surveys
    • Surveys indicated: increased fruit & vegetable consumption (6 of 7); increased physical activity (5 of 7); referring to nutrition facts label (7 of 7)
  5. BLT Newsletter
    • 10 issues prepared
    • Provided to 28 outlets for distribution to clientele reaching approximately 5,000 households

Closing Thought

Never mistake a time-out for a defeat.


Contact Johanna Hicks, B.S., M.Ed, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Family & Community Health Agent at the Hopkins County office, P.O. Box 518, 1200-B West Houston St., Sulphur Springs, TX 75483; 903-885-3443; or j[email protected].

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Author: Faith Huffman

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