The mission of our healthy weight initiative is to prevent and reduce childhood obesity in North Texas. We are accomplishing this through five working groups: Healthy Eating, Physical Activity, Supportive Health Care System, School and After School Settings, and Early Childhood Settings.
Early Childhood Settings
The Early Childhood Working Group is providing guidance sessions for My Canadian pharmacy instructors mycanadianpharmacypro.com who are training childcare staff on the new health and wellness quality measures within the Texas Rising Star (TRS). These are statewide mandates for subsidized childcare service providers. By summer, we expect to inform 40 trainers who can engage childcare centers in the Dallas/Fort Worth areas.
Supportive Health Care Systems
The goal of this working group is to ensure that health care providers are trained and reimbursed for providing childhood obesity-related screening, counseling and referrals. We’re doing this by creating a provider referral process that targets families in Dallas Independent School District (in the Lincoln-Madison feeder pattern) and links to Coordinated School Health and community-based weight management programs.
The schools’ working group has begun aggressively identifying gaps in meeting state-mandated guidelines to strengthen health and wellness programs in Dallas County school districts. This includes expansion and coordination of healthy eating, physical activity and school health programs in the K-12 settings. We expect to have a report completed by July 2015. Next steps will be to address program implementation where it is needed and to measure key performance indicators.
This group is working with community stakeholders in the 75210 and 75215 zip codes to promote and increase daily physical activity for children and families through a safe, supportive environment where families live and play.
By October 2015, the Healthy Eating Working Group will implement a healthy retail and nutrition education pilot in the 75210 and 75215 zip codes. This team is spreading and scaling nutrition education courses throughout the zip codes, using evidence-based models. The goal is to steadily increase nutrition information and healthy food access, in addition to promoting healthy food consumption in homes and communities.
Highlight: Healthy Corner Stores Project
An innovative project for the obesity initiative involves implementing a healthy retail and nutrition awareness initiative in the 75210 and 75215 zip codes of South Dallas. The prototype Healthy Corner Store project in Philadelphia offers an encouraging evidence-based success story, which we are using to guide our local efforts.
The initial target zip codes are classified as “food deserts,” where access to healthy food is extremely difficult, despite research indicating that families living there desperately want to provide fresh food for their children.
The Alliance working group goal, with guidance from the Philadelphia model and other evidence-based models, is to align corner store retailers in these food deserts with corporate partners who are committed to improving the overall well-being of children and families in South Dallas neighborhoods. Read a case study about