CDC Effort Jackson - Lawrence


According to 2012 County Health Rankings, Jackson and Lawrence County had the highest rates of obesity across the state of Indiana (> 40% of the adult population). Obesity is linked to many negative health outcomes like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some cancers. Regular physical activity and healthy eating can help reduce these risks but, citizens of rural areas and from low-income backgrounds are less likely to have access to recreation facilities, fresh and healthy food retail, and active transportation. The seclusion of rural cities and towns can also restrict the reach of health interventions by only meeting the needs of a few residents in particular geographic areas.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) invested in the health of Jackson and Lawrence County citizens by supporting two, homegrown coalitions. Healthy Jackson County (est. 2011) and Live Well Lawrence County, (est. 2012) are community-based coalitions focused on improving the health of their neighbors by increasing healthy food access and consumption, increasing physical activity opportunities, and offering education and promotional support to improve health. By partnering with Purdue University Extension, these coalitions will be positioned to lead sustainable, community-driven efforts that improve health across their counties.

Results

As of July 2017, only five-months into the project, great strides have been made to meet coalition goals. In Jackson County, partnerships with schools, food pantries, and the parks and recreation department will improve access to healthier foods for thousands  of young people and their families. In Lawrence County, the coalition is advocating for new walking trails, active transportation to school, and a farmer’s market. In both counties, interactive maps will highlight physical activity opportunities across the county and community gardens will offer healthy food and education opportunities. Residents in both counties should also look for new coalition logos that indicate coalition support at community events. With more than a year to go, this initial momentum bodes well for the long-term success of the coalition.

 Link to local news articles