SDSU Extension will build upon the successful work conducted in tribal communities in Buffalo and Ziebach Counties under the CDC 1416 High Obesity Prevention program to continue to expand implementation of evidence-based strategies that increase access to healthier foods and safe and accessible places for physical activity. This project will continue to utilize the established and trusted community-based Wellness Coalitions in these counties, with continued facilitation and coaching by local SDSU Extension staff. The Wellness Coalitions will continue to utilize community needs assessments to guide and engage community stakeholders to select and implement interventions from an evidence-based menu that meet CDC Nutrition and Physical Activity Strategies. New and improved intervention activities will be added to the menu to continue to best address disparities and level of readiness in these tribal communities.
Based on the success of the community-based Wellness Coalitions in these two counties during the CDC 1416 program, we are proposing capitalizing on that success by adding a second focus for this project - the establishment of school-based Wellness Coalitions. Schools in these counties are the ‘hubs’ of these communities, often serving as the main community employer, tasked with feeding children the majority of their meals in these communities (>90% free/reduced lunch rates), and providing some of the only means of physical activity available in these extremely rural areas. However, like the communities in which they reside, schools are often strapped for resources (e.g. time, funding, etc.) to be able to serve as a ‘hub’ to effect larger system changes in these counties. Couple all of that with the recent announcement that South Dakota was not awarded CDC Healthy Schools funding (DP18-1801) demonstrates the need for SDSU Extension to help tailor intervention strategies to help schools as a part of this work.
In Year 1, schools in these counties will be engaged by SDSU Extension and their collaborators to create school-based Wellness Coalitions. The school-based Wellness Coalition will develop and implement a strategic plan and conduct needs assessments (SPAN-ET, etc.). These assessments will provide insight into school environmental attributes that are perceived to be as either obesity-preventing or promoting. Further, it will identify local resources and readiness to implement school-level obesity prevention strategies among children and families. Both the community-based and school-based wellness coalitions will be provided with a new “menu” of evidence-based/informed interventions that meet the requirements of the Nutrition and Physical Activity Strategies. Because the community-based coalitions are already established and active, they will immediately begin to utilize community-needs assessments to continue to implement community-level obesity prevention activities.
In Years 2-5 both the community and school-based Wellness Coalitions will work on implementing new activities that meet the Nutrition and Physical Activity strategies. Year 5 all Wellness Coalitions will conduct large-scale post-needs assessments (e.g. HEALth MAPPS, SPAN-ET, etc.) to assess progress. Utilizing a community-based approach allows the Wellness Coalitions and communities/schools to have ownership over the activities they select, which will result in greater success and sustainability. This project will focus on the following outcomes: 1) Increased access to and purchasing of healthier foods, 2) Increased access to safe and accessible places for physical activity and increased physical activity, and 3) Prevention of and/or reduction of obesity in these communities and counties.