240336 Partnership between public health, planning and parks and recreation to create pedestrian friendly environments in a rural community

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Melissa Watford, EdM , Community Health Services, FirstHealth of the Carolinas, Pinehurst, NC
Kathy Liles, AICP, CFM, CZO , Planning Department, Town of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, NC
In Moore and Montgomery counties, one out of every five children ages 5 to 17 lives below the federal poverty level. An equal number lives close to that edge. In Moore County, in grades K-9, 20% of children are obese and an additional 16% are overweight. In January 2010, Moore and Montgomery counties, NC was one of 41 sites across the country to launch Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities (HKHC) a 4-year initiative to facilitate policy and environmental changes to advance healthy living among children and their families.

Through HKHC, public health and planning professionals have created a partnership to address the childhood obesity epidemic through changing the built environment. In Aberdeen, NC the town has built a health based process for pedestrian and park planning. The process includes GIS mapping BMI data, food venues, parks and pedestrian infrastructure to prioritize neighborhoods hardest hit by the childhood obesity epidemic and using photovoice to tell the story. In eighteen months, with input from a diverse group of community representatives, Aberdeen has completed a tunnel renovation to encourage walking to school, greenways acquisition to increase walkability and hosted a public forum on creating bicycle and pedestrian friendly communities. The town has also completed pedestrian and comprehensive parks and recreation plans to guide future projects to encourage physical activity.

This presentation will demonstrate what can happen when public health and planning professionals partner to change the built environment and increase physical activity in a rural community.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1)Understand the importance of creating strong partnerships between public health professionals and planning and parks and recreation decision-makers to create healthier environments 2)Demonstrate how GIS mapping and photovoice tools are used to prioritize planning needs around increasing physical activity in a community. 3)List five essential components of a pedestrian plan.

Keywords: Planning, Physical Activity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am the project director for Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities and oversee the initative to create environments that increase physical activity and healthy eating opportunties for children and families.
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.