Coalition seeks community input about health in Assumption Parish

(09/02/20) NAPOLEONVILLE, La. — The LSU AgCenter is seeking input from Assumption Parish residents through an online survey to help identify and address health needs in the community.

“While the LSU AgCenter works in all parishes in Louisiana, Assumption Parish is unique in that it is one of only six parishes in the state that has access to federal funding to build and sustain healthy communities,” said Jamila Freightman, LSU AgCenter Healthy Communities program manager. “This funding is specifically used to support projects that enhance the food system and built environment of a given community. However, in order to access these resources, community members must voice a need or concern and be motivated to initiate change.”

According to County Health Rankings, the adult obesity rate in Assumption Parish is 42%, and the physical inactivity rate is 34%. These rates are well above the national averages of 30.9% for obesity and 23.8% for physical inactivity.

“Before we begin addressing the community’s needs, we have to gather information about what those needs are,” said Maria Gonzales, LSU AgCenter assistant extension agent in Assumption Parish. “Our goal is to give the community a voice and use their input to help guide our efforts to fight obesity and control and prevent serious chronic diseases in Assumption Parish.”

Community members can take an online survey at to offer their input. The survey will remain open until Dec. 31.

The survey asks Assumption Parish residents how they view their own communities in terms of health. Topics covered in the survey include physical activity and healthy food access.

“Normally, we would hold a community forum and gather this information face-to-face,” said Freightman. “While we hope that in-person meetings will be possible in the near future, we feel that engaging the community about its health needs shouldn’t wait. Gathering this information online is a safe and timely alternative to meeting in person during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Organizers are seeking input from community stakeholders such as local residents, public officials, faith leaders, business owners, school board members, educators and anyone else with a vested interest in building a healthier community across Assumption Parish.

This project is part of the LSU AgCenter Healthy Communities initiative, which aims to improve the physical and social environments that influence health using a community-driven approach. The survey will be used to plan community coalition projects in 2021.

For more information about the survey or to partner with LSU AgCenter Healthy Communities in Assumption Parish, contact Gonzales at or Freightman at

Benefits of exercise sign.

Sign describing benefits of exercise along the walking path at Assumption Community Hospital in Napoleonville. The walking path and signs were established in 2019 through a series of partnerships and collaborations including the LSU AgCenter Healthy Communities and Assumption Community Hospital. Photo by Olivia McClure/LSU AgCenter

Employees on new walking path.

Assumption Community Hospital employees on a break take advantage of the new walking path on the hospital’s grounds in 2019. Photo by Olivia McClure/LSU AgCenter

9/2/2020 6:56:05 PM
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