Healthy Communities is an LSU AgCenter initiative that makes Louisiana towns healthier places to live, work, and play. Local residents decide what the important issues are and come up with possible solutions. The community works together to make healthy foods accessible and affordable, and ensure that outdoor physical activity is safe, accessible, and fun for all.
We focus on making policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) changes that will result in long-term, sustainable solutions to health challenges that our communities face. We work on improving both nutrition and physical activity environments through projects like:
According to America's Health Rankings, Louisiana ranks last in the United States in terms of health outcomes. With an obesity rate of 35.9% and a physical inactivity rate of 31.9%, Louisiana's residents suffer disproportionately from preventable obesity-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. These preventable diseases can negatively impact individuals' physical and mental health (Obesity, 2020). We want to address the root causes of obesity to improve quality of life for all Louisiana residents.
Using the Socio-Ecological Model, our initiative seeks partnerships with schools, elected officials, community members, faith-based organizations and other community stakeholders to deliver evidence-based interventions to influence the complex determinants of health. By partnering with local communities, we aim to continuously improve both the physical and social environments that influence our health.
Step 1: Get to know your community by assessing its needs. What resources are already available? Which parts of the community are underserved?
Step 2: Host a community forum to guide your efforts. Give your community a voice by gathering input from the public.
Step 3: Form a Healthy Communities coalition. If there is already an existing coalition, join the effort to improve the health of your community.
Step 4: Address your community's needs. Pool your coalition's resources to make changes according to the needs identified by the community.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture