A Year in Review – Family Nutrition
This is the third column about the impacts that the Family & Community Health programs have had in Hopkins County. As the last vestiges of Christmas are still adorning my home, I’m reflecting on the good things that came from 2020 – particularly in the area of family nutrition.
According to https://nccd.cdc.gov and www.countyhealthranking.org , the percentage of children living in poverty in Hopkins County is 21%, with uninsured under the age of 65 at 35%. Adult obesity is 31% (higher than the state and nation), with physical inactivity hovering around 35% of the county’s population. These statistics show that there is a continuing need for education in the county. With support and planning by my local committees, several action plans have been implemented to address the need.
- Walk & Talk, a spin-off of Walk Across Texas, is an 8-week program which promotes physical activity, but also has a nutritional element involved. Each week, a simple nutrition lesson was presented via Zoom for Head Start parents and other individuals. It provides basic information to teach clientele about the importance of increasing fruit and vegetable intake, along with consumption of whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and lean proteins. Additionally, participants were given a log to track steps taken daily during the 8-week period to promote physical activity. Working closely with the Sulphur Springs Head Start program provides cohesion for participants, school staff, and Extension. The group logged 2,365 miles during the series, and received some fantastic give-aways to reinforce the topics.
- Fresh Start to a Healthier You, a 4-lesson series featuring MyPlate, Fight Bac (food safety), Fruits & Vegetables, and Stretching Your Food Dollar, was implemented for Head Start parents was offered on-line in October, 2020, with 7 individuals completing the series. Nutrition indicators showing improvement from the pre-survey to post-survey were: making a list to avoid impulse buys (budgeting); reading nutrition labels; proper handling of fresh produce; being physically active at least 30 minutes 5 days a week.
- Better Living for Texans Newsletter is a semi-monthly newsletter, focusing on a variety of nutritional and physical activity topics, including recipes and upcoming events with each edition. This newsletter is delivered electronically to clientele, reaching a potential 5000 households.
- Social media posts: weekly nutrition posts are added to the Hopkins County Family & Community Health Facebook page. These articles are from reliable sources in the areas of nutrition and health. If you haven’t already, check it out!
The year 2021 will bring these and more nutrition opportunities for families. Hopefully, we will be able to return to face-to-face programming! Among the opportunities coming soon are: Fresh Start to a Healthier You; Be Well, Live Well for the 50+ crowd; Kids’ Camp: Fun, Food, Fitness; Walk & Talk (fall, 2021); and Cooking Well with Diabetes. Currently, a virtual series focusing on diabetes management is taking place. If you did not register and would like to take part, please contact my office at 903-885-3443.
Now, hopefully, I’ll get around to taking down the final Christmas decorations!
When you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere – Andy Rooney