The supplement provides strategies and tools for reducing chronic disease through community-based physical activity and nutrition
Washington, DC – November 17, 2022 – The Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) announces the publication of “Reducing Chronic Disease through Physical Activity and Nutrition: Public Health Practice in the Field,” a special supplement of its peer-reviewed journal Health Promotion Practice (HPP).
The open-access supplement is sponsored by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO).
“We know what works to build healthier communities,”Terry O’Toole, Chief of DNPAO Program Development and Evaluation
The issue highlights innovative practices, implementation, adaptation, and evaluation of programs from three of DNPAO’s key funding initiatives: State Physical Activity and Nutrition Programs; Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health; and the High Obesity Program. These efforts support communities in advancing equitable, sustainable policies and evidence-based practices that improve access to healthy food and safe physical activity among priority populations, tailored to local context and community needs.
“These programs demonstrate the capacity to leverage trusted partnerships, program infrastructure, funding, and technology [and] encourage the reader to imagine what could be done if the programs that work could be spread and scaled to cover the nation.”Terry O’Toole, Chief of DNPAO Program Development and Evaluation
The supplement features 19 articles addressing making physical activity safe and accessible for all, making healthy food choices easier, making breastfeeding easier to start and sustain, and strengthening obesity prevention. The issue also includes cross-cutting strategies, coalitions, communications, community-clinical linkages, programs that work, practical tools, and insights from the field.
More than half of the United States population lives with at least one chronic disease, such as heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, or obesity. Chronic diseases are leading causes of death and disability, drivers of health care costs, and drivers of lower worker productivity. Two main behavioral risk factors for chronic disease include inadequate physical activity and poor nutrition. Adequately addressing these risk factors needs to consider long-standing systemic social, economic, and environmental inequities, historically and disproportionately imposed upon racial/ethnic minorities. Articles in this supplement address state and local efforts to create and sustain environments that support safe and healthy food and physical activity across the lifespan.
The supplement provides reflection and insight from diverse settings and communities. Articles from the Navajo Nation explore the critical role of small stores in providing access to safe and healthy food both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Farmer’s markets are featured, with a focus on locally tailored policies and practices that encourage participation by rural vendors and residents. Authors share strategies for adapting public education campaigns to engage Indigenous families in remote areas of Alaska and translating health communications into the 14 languages and three dialects that are spoken in Asian communities in Michigan.
The value of using publicly available tools at the beginning of policy and systems change initiatives, such as the CDC’s Worksite Health Scorecard and Implementation Readiness Assessments, is demonstrated through state and local examples. Other articles describe new ways of engaging community partners, including participatory data collection in rural areas, collaborations with faith-based organizations to promote physical activity through shared-use agreements, creating a culture of breastfeeding in a local region, and supporting practitioner authors through a series of hands-on workshops and coaching designed to demystify and encourage writing for publication.
Many of the articles in this supplement were written by practitioners, to share “wisdom from the field.” This is evident in the stories of community adaptation to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Programs were well underway when everything changed around them– stay-at-home orders, social distancing requirements, food chain disruptions, staff reassignments, and the first evidence of how severely COVID-19 would impact communities.
Practitioner authors demonstrate the ways that they adapted to the emerging situation, drawing on their own skills and dedication to leverage local knowledge, relationships, and resources to meet their commitments to their communities and partnerships.
“These are stories of hope and commitment. With candor and humility, the authors show the power of principled – and nimble – health promotion practice.”Dr. Kathleen Roe, HPP Editor-in-Chief.
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