182035 Working across county and state lines: Evaluating access of weight-related health promotion programs

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Brandi S. Niemeier, BSBA, MBA , Department of Health, Nutrition and Exercise Sciences, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND
Gary Liguori, PhD , Department of Health, Nutrition and Exercise Sciences, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND
Introduction: Public health professionals in Cass County, ND, and Clay County, MN, (total pop. 184,000) have joined efforts to synergistically promote community-based weight-related health promotion programs (WRHPP's). Goals of this initiative include assessing the availability of and participation in WRHPP's and improving collaboration of community organizations.

Methods: A web-based survey was developed to assess the current status of WRHPP's. An online and hard copy survey was delivered to 110 organizations in the two counties, with weekly follow-up reminders to increase response rate.

Results: The survey had a 73% response rate and identified over 225 WRHPP's available in the counties. Approximately 17% of the population accessed these programs in 2007. Program fees are required for 20% of the programs of which 40% target youth. Health education (HE) is the leading type of program offered (38%), followed by physical activity (PA) (34%) and wellness programs (18%). Community concerns were identified as lack of PA (37%) and HE (26%) programs and fresh food choices (25%).

Discussion: This initiative experienced collaborative participation from a diverse array of normally competing organizations, which itself was deemed a success. An interesting contrast regarding HE and PA programs was revealed, as they were reported as both the most available and the most lacking in the community. This dichotomy may be due to a general lack of awareness about community-based WRHPP's, particularly those promoting HE and PA. It would seem prudent to focus upcoming initiative activities on increasing awareness of community resources as a means to increasing community participation.

Learning Objectives:
List proven strategies for community planning both within and across county and state lines. Describe the required framework for an effective community assessment instrument and data collection process. Discuss the need for collaboration of community members across locations, industries, and levels of knowledge.

Keywords: Community-Based Health Promotion, Collaboration

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the primary author of the assessment instrument and co-chair and principle researcher for the committee for which the data was generated. North Dakota State University IRB approved exemption from IRB evaluation in September-2007.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.