Year in Review – Better Living for Texans/Family Nutrition
The State of Health for Hopkins County was recently presented to the Hopkins County Commissioners’ Court. Although Hopkins County ranks 88th in health outcomes based on length and quality of life, it is an improvement from previous years. We rank 117th in health factors based on health behaviors, clinical care, social/economic factors, and physical factors. This is also an improvement from previous years. Adult obesity remains the same at 31% of the population, while physical activity has improved.
According to https://hhs.state.texas.gov, 13.7% of the population in Hopkins County lives in poverty. As of October, 2019, there were 1,900 Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) cases with 4,132 recipients.
Hopkins County Extension Family & Community Health Committee, along with the Community Health/Wellness Alliance, Master Wellness Volunteers, 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.
- Walk & Talk is an 8-week program which promotes physical activity and healthy eating. Each week, a simple nutrition lesson or cooking demonstration provides basic information to encourage clientele to increase fruit and vegetable consumption, along with consumption of whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and lean proteins. Another goal is to promote the habit of daily physical activity.
- Fresh Start to a Healthier You is a 4-lesson series featuring MyPlate, Fight Bac (food safety), Fruits & Vegetables, and Stretching Your Food Dollar.
- Be Well, Live Well is a 5-lesson program targeted toward the 50+ age group. Sessions include Be Independent – Eat Well, Be Able to Read the Label, Be Safe Eat Safe, Be Creative with Meal Planning, and Be Fit Move More. The overall goal is to help older adults aspire to the ideal of successful aging.
- Better Living for Texans Newsletter is a semi-monthly newsletter focusing on a variety of nutrition and physical activity topics, including a recipe and upcoming events with each edition.
- School Health Fairs were held in coordination with Sulphur Springs, Cumby, Sulphur Bluff, and Como-Pickton ISD’s. Exhibits included MyPlate, Packing a Safe School Lunch, dangers of tobacco, hands-on activity for students, and marketing materials for Extension programs.
- One-shot Nutrition Programs for Civic Organizations, Head Start youth, and various groups provided basic nutrition, food budgeting, and holiday tips.
- Walk & Talk: Two teams of Head Start parents and 40 students grades 1-4 logged a total of 3,713.65 miles. Results indicated an increase in fruit & vegetable consumption, increase in physical activity, and greater awareness of reading nutrition labels. Topic reinforcement items included cutting boards, measuring cups, food thermometers, veggie peelers, lunch pouches, MyPlate booklets, veggie cookbooks, cool neck wraps, and gardening gloves.
- Fresh Start to a Healthier You: 15 individuals attended the series. Nutrition indicators showing improvement from pre-to post-surveys were: making a list to avoid impulse buying, reading nutrition labels, proper handling of fresh produce, and being active at least 30 minutes 5 days a week.
- Be Well, Live Well: 7 individuals attended the series. Major improvements from pre- to post-surveys were: increasing frequency of fruit and vegetable intake, increasing the number of days of physical activity, understanding nutrition labels. New information learned by individuals included temperature danger zone, using food thermometers, understanding labeling terms.
- Better Living for Texans newsletter: 10 issues were prepared in English and Spanish. Posted on Extension website and distributed electronically to 39 outlets for distribution to clientele, reaching a potential 5,500 households.
- School fairs: Extension provided exhibits on Packing a Safe & Healthy School Lunch, Fast Food Fats, Fizzics of Soda, Nutrition Spin Wheel, and others, reaching approximately 550.
- One Shot programs: Served as a pilot county for “Get a Taste for Reducing Food Waste”, Head Start students healthy snacking program, Hopkins/Rains Retired Teachers healthy holiday tips program, and Junior Waverly program.
No one can go back and make a brand new start, my friend, but anyone can start from here and make a brand new end – Dan Zadra
Article by Johanna Hicks, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Family & Community Health Agent