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Hometown Hikers – Improving Hometown Health Tamara Baker Coordinated School Health Program Coordinator Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services/Division.

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Presentation on theme: "Hometown Hikers – Improving Hometown Health Tamara Baker Coordinated School Health Program Coordinator Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services/Division."— Presentation transcript:

1 Hometown Hikers – Improving Hometown Health Tamara Baker Coordinated School Health Program Coordinator Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services/Division of Health

2 Objectives Bring awareness of a rural walking program, Hometown Hikers Bring awareness of a rural walking program, Hometown Hikers Identify the benefit of a grassroots program Identify the benefit of a grassroots program Identify the link with school and community Identify the link with school and community

3 Hometown Health Improvement Project The Pike County Hometown Health Improvement Coalition – Interested parties (Health Dept., Extension, DHS, schools, Development Council, etc.) The Pike County Hometown Health Improvement Coalition – Interested parties (Health Dept., Extension, DHS, schools, Development Council, etc.) Vision Statement - To assist the community in recognizing and meeting its needs by promoting health and healthy lifestyles for all community members. Vision Statement - To assist the community in recognizing and meeting its needs by promoting health and healthy lifestyles for all community members.

4 Why Walk? Time and again, Arkansas ranks as one of the unhealthiest states in the nation. Time and again, Arkansas ranks as one of the unhealthiest states in the nation. Adult behavioral risk factors survey showed that about 57% of the Pike County population is overweight, compared to about 32-33% of the U.S. and the rest of Arkansas populations. 85% do NOT participate in regular or sustained physical activity. Adult behavioral risk factors survey showed that about 57% of the Pike County population is overweight, compared to about 32-33% of the U.S. and the rest of Arkansas populations. 85% do NOT participate in regular or sustained physical activity.

5 Take a Hike! Studies have shown that walking with others and engaging in a program long enough to make walking a habit promote success. Studies have shown that walking with others and engaging in a program long enough to make walking a habit promote success. The Pike County Extension Service and the Pike County Health Unit teamed up to bring Hometown Hikers to Pike County. The Pike County Extension Service and the Pike County Health Unit teamed up to bring Hometown Hikers to Pike County. This eight week physical activity program is designed to reduce barriers to physical and behavioral health of rural women. This eight week physical activity program is designed to reduce barriers to physical and behavioral health of rural women.

6 The Program Began in June 2001 and ran for eight weeks (Yes, the hot & humid dog days of an Arkansas summer!!) Began in June 2001 and ran for eight weeks (Yes, the hot & humid dog days of an Arkansas summer!!) Jump Start June, July, Jump Start June, July, and the Rest of Your Life! 1 st meeting - Data collected. Participants explored local hiking trails each week and participated in group discussions on healthy lifestyle issues. Participants explored local hiking trails each week and participated in group discussions on healthy lifestyle issues.

7 Short Lessons... Short educational lessons were conducted on topics such as: Short educational lessons were conducted on topics such as: –Nutrition & fitness –Preparing quick & healthy meals –The importance of hydration –Proper hiking techniques –Food guide pyramid / Dietary guidelines

8 ... Long Walks Long walks: Long walks: –State park trails –Corps of engineers trails –City parks –Neighborhoods Talk-while-you-walk: Talk-while-you-walk: –Great time to discuss lessons & lifestyles!

9 Hikers (participants)... Set goals Set goals Kept track of their mileage Kept track of their mileage Reported successes & struggles Reported successes & struggles Promoted program Promoted program Hiked many miles!! Hiked many miles!! Learned new behaviors and lifestyles Learned new behaviors and lifestyles

10 Total Miles Walked Hikers walked miles (total) Hikers walked miles (total) Winning hiker walked miles Winning hiker walked miles Participants included a county official, health department administrator, school workers, health department nurse, caretakers, etc. Participants included a county official, health department administrator, school workers, health department nurse, caretakers, etc.

11 The Next Challenge This spring, the program began The Next Challenge This spring, the program began The Next Challenge Teams made up of school youth, teachers, parents, and other local residents are participating Teams made up of school youth, teachers, parents, and other local residents are participating Expanded to other counties Expanded to other counties

12 Annual tobacco-free activity Annual tobacco-free activity Diverse implementations Diverse implementations –Adults & children –On campus vs. off campus –Community partners

13 Community and School Link Murfreesboro and Gurdon invited family members to participate Murfreesboro and Gurdon invited family members to participate Gurdon identified need for walking trail improvements Gurdon identified need for walking trail improvements

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15 Accolades 2002 Rural Womens Health Conference 2002 Rural Womens Health Conference 2003 Public Health Hero Award 2003 Public Health Hero Award 2004 Steps to a HealthierUS 2004 Steps to a HealthierUS Chronic Disease Prevention Database/CDC Chronic Disease Prevention Database/CDC

16 Benefit of Homegrown Effort Community trust Community trust Local perspective Local perspective Hidden resources Hidden resources Human story/connectedness Human story/connectedness

17 Limitations No real evaluation data No real evaluation data Needs a full time cheerleader Needs a full time cheerleader Sustainability Sustainability

18 Conclusion Hometown Hikers is a small, rural, education based walking program with a big dream….A healthier Arkansas Hometown Hikers is a small, rural, education based walking program with a big dream….A healthier Arkansas

19 For More Information: Contact: Tamara Baker, RN, MPH Coordinated School Health Program Coordinator


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