Cathy Judd, Fields, Lee Ann
The LSU AgCenter is working on building healthy communities one community at a time in order to help make the healthy choice the easy choice for all Louisianans. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Louisiana holds the highest obesity prevalence in the US at 36%. Because of this high prevalence of obesity, Louisiana citizens suffer from high rates of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
The first Lincoln Parish Healthy Community meeting was held in Grambling at the Community Center in November. Grambling residents, teachers, retired teachers, concerned citizens, public officials, stakeholders, faith-based leaders, and community members were invited to discuss barriers and assets to health in the parish. Participants identified programs and activities that were in place to help Grambling residents concentrate on becoming healthier and maintaining good health. They identified some things they thought might be keeping residents from being healthy, such as lack of sidewalks, no swimming pool, lack of knowledge on how to shop and prepare healthy meals, stuck in bad eating habits, lack of transportation, financial challenges, and social customs, just to name a few. Participants gave ideas of what would help to improve the health of Lincoln residents, including Community Center for activities or recreation center, workshops for children on nutrition and fitness, to develop a city wide fitness program for children & youth, to develop exercise competition, community garden, teaching nutrition lessons on local radio station, conducting a city wide health fair, and encouraging local farmers to participate in local farmers market.
Twenty-two Grambling residents have dedicated their time and vision to improve the health of the community by serving on the Lincoln Parish Healthy Communities Coalition. The Healthy Community Coalition, led by the LSU AgCenter, will work to empower Lincoln residents to build a healthier lifestyles by implementing community projects, programs, and policies regarding healthy living. The goal of Healthy Communities is to target not only individual behavior, but also the social and cultural norms surrounding health.
The Grambling Healthy Community members met to work on strategic planning. The next step members will share strategies for addressing concerns identified at the community forum, and put together community action plans.
The Grambling Healthy Community member’s next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, February 16th beginning at 4:00 p.m. in the Grambling Community Room. If you are a resident of Grambling and would like to be a part of Healthy Community, it is not too late. We are looking for you to share your vision and strategies for a healthier community in Grambling. If you would like more information, please contact Cathy Judd at 318-251-5134.