Alabama Preventing and Reducing Obesity: Helping Engage Alabamians for Long-Term Health
Almost 20% of Alabama counties (n=13) have an adult obesity rate greater than 40%. Populations espousing specific sociodemographic characteristics that have been shown to contribute disproportionately to obesity, including poverty, high percentage of racial minority populations and a rural environment, are prominent in Alabama’s eligible 13 high-obese counties. Obesogenic environmental factors residents in target counties face include limited healthy, affordable food choices and physical activity opportunities.
Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s (ACES) Alabama Preventing and Reducing Obesity: Helping Engage Alabamians for Long-Term Health (ALProHealth) will continue and expand implementation and evaluation of evidence-based strategies to increase access to healthier foods and safe, accessible places for physical activity with the goal of reducing the obesity burden in 13 high-obese Alabama counties. ALProHealth will seek to influence multiple levels of the Social Ecological Model using a community participatory approach.
ALProHealth’s five-year initiative will seek to achieve multiple nutrition and physical activity evidence-based strategies at both regional and county/community levels.
Nutrition strategies will focus on collaborating with partners to improve the food system to increase access to healthier foods. Outcomes associated with these strategies will include increasing/improving the number/quality of
• producers and institutions engaged in food hubs,
• vendors, distributors and producers supporting access to healthier foods,
• institutions providing access and promotion of healthier foods,
• healthy nutrition standards in key institutions and
• institutions providing voucher incentive programs.
Physical activity strategies will focus on collaborating with partners to connect sidewalks; paths; bicycle routes; and public transit with homes, early care and education programs, schools, worksites and parks or recreation centers through implementing master plans and land use interventions. Outcomes associated with these strategies will include improving
• land use or environmental design,
• pedestrian, bicycle or transit transportation systems and
• access to healthcare, economic development/employment opportunities and quality of life activities.
ALProHealth will capitalize on the organizational structure of ACES, including highly qualified subject matter experts and well-connected county professionals, to position ACES to positively influence this complex, community health issue. In partnership with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and ACES, ALProHealth will improve regional food systems to support long-term accessibility of healthier foods; increase purchase/selection of healthier foods at key institutions; and increase use of pedestrian, bicycle and transit transportation systems. Alabama will not look the same in five years.