Online Program

Utilizing Community Assessment to Achieve Policy Change for Reduction of Childhood Obesity

Sunday, November 1, 2015

PoTeea Morris-Hunter, Department of Public Health, Armstrong State University, Savannah, GA
Paula Kreissler, MBA, Healthy Savannah, Savannah, GA
Virginia Dick, PhD, Healthy Savannah, Savannah
Approximately 17% (or 12.7 million) of America’s youth aged 2—19 years are obeses1.  In Savannah, Georgia/ Chatham County, the statistics are worse, 1 in 3 children are considered obese2.Obese children suffer from serious health issues, psychosocial consequences and lower quality of life than non-obese children3.  To better understand and combat the issue of childhood obesity Healthy Savannah, a local non-profit, hypothesis that policy, system and environmental changes such as having complete streets can improve the health of children. To test this theory a 23 question snowball community assessment surveys was conducted at ten Title I Schools, community outreach events and through the Healthy Savannah webpage. Variables such as age, race, and gender were assessed to gain insight on how certain populations felt about their local childhood obesity rates and a potential Complete Streets ordinance.  1,207 surveys were collected from participant’s aged 13-80. Quantitative data and Qualitative data was analyzed using Microsoft Excel and R, and displayed in accessible format for all audiences. 95% of the people who completed the survey perceived that a Complete Streets ordinance is important or extremely important, 34% believed most or all roads are not bike or pedestrian friendly, and 50% believed that bike lanes are extremely important for getting to and from school, as well as for increasing physical activity. Using evidence-based results from the community assessment, the Savannah City Council approved a Complete Street Ordinance. This study may increase awareness of the significance of policy, system and environmental change on health.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Public health or related education
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Explain the significance of policy, system and environmental change on health.

Keyword(s): Child Health Promotion, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to be the author of this abstract because I am a Master of Public Health candidate and the Assistant Director of Community Development and Healthy Living for Healthy Savannah Grant. I am also very passionate about reducing Childhood Obesity and have conducted various research on the subject of obesity as an undergraduate.
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.