Small Towns Making Big Changes to Support Healthy Lifestyles

One of the harbingers of fall at the Vermont Department of Health is the release of the latest Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance Survey data. The 2016 data related to our work includes updated obesity and overweight rates as well as the rate of leisure time physical activity among Vermont adults. (Other physical activity and nutrition questions are asked on the odd number years.) Our data is mixed this time around:

  • Adult obesity rates are at 28% up from 25% in 2015. This difference is not considered statistically significant.
  • The adult overweight rate is 34% down from 35% in 2015.
  • 18% of adults reported no leisure time activity, the same rate as in 2014, the last time this question was asked.
We know it takes a long time to change overweight and obesity rates and most experts in the field view rates staying level from one year to the next as a small victory. We also know that if we follow the evidence base and continue to encourage Vermonters to be more physically active and eat in a healthy way, we will see results. This newsletter highlights efforts to increase healthy eating and physical activity. Please share this information with others so we can all work together to see positive change soon.

Enjoy the lovely Vermont fall! 

Vermont Outdoor Economy Public Forums

The Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative (VOREC) is hosting Vermont Outdoor Economy Public Forums around the state in September and October. Please consider participating, as outdoor recreation has both health and economic benefits.
Almost one quarter (20%) of VT adults do not get any leisure time physical activity and over three quarters of Vermont youth (77%) do not get the recommended 1 hour of PA a day, every day. Investing in outdoor recreation will likely lead to increased physical activity, and can help change these numbers and ultimately health care costs associated with chronic conditions related to inactivity.

According to the National Association of Realtors, not only is outdoor recreation good for health, but outdoor recreation opportunities are good economic drivers for communities. People want to live in places where there are parks, trails, and all-user paths. Parks should be connected to other amenities via sidewalks, multi-use paths, and public transit where it exists. Having the ability to get to parks and other amenities (food, schools, shops, housing) by walking, biking, “rolling” or public transit encourages people to be physically active in their everyday lives and increases use of all connected facilities. More…
Small Towns Making Big Changes to Support Healthy Lifestyles
Communities can play an important role in supporting lifelong health and wellbeing for residents by offering amenities for safe and accessible walking, rolling, biking and playing, and providing access to healthy foods. Vermont is made up of hundreds of small towns, places where people often think it is not possible or practical to implement these types of strategies, yet it can be done!
The  Community Preventive Services Task Force recommends combining new or enhanced transportation systems (e.g., pedestrian and cycling paths) with new or enhanced land use design (e.g., proximity to a store, access to a public park) to promote physical activity among residents. They found that “combinations of activity-friendly built environment characteristics are associated with higher levels of transportation-related physical activity, recreational physical activity, and total walking”. More…
Be recognized! The 2018 Worksite Wellness Award Application Now Open

 

The application for the 2018 Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Worksite Wellness is now open. These awards recognize employers that have a commitment to staff wellness. They will be presented by the Governor at the 2018 Worksite Wellness Conference on March 21st, 2018 at the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center in Burlington. Worksites are encouraged to apply regardless of how long wellness initiatives have been in place. Wellness initiatives might include policies or changes to the built environment that support healthy choices, programs and activities that promote healthy behaviors, or other strategies that demonstrate a commitment to staff wellness.The deadline for applications is October 31st, 2017. Click here to submit your application. Registration for the conference will open in December. Contact Ashwinee.Kulkarni@vermont.gov with any questions.

Back to School: It’s that Time Again!

This is an exciting time of year for students and families. As kids head back to school, it’s important to remember that healthy students are better learners. The data published in the September 8 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report suggest that high school students reporting lower academic scores also reported greater health risk behaviors associated with substance use, violence, poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, and sex.

The Vermont Department of Health promotes the use of the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model. With this model, various sectors can work together to ensure that every young person in every school in every community is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. The National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) has released The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) Model: A Guide to Implementation. The guide is designed to assist schools and school districts interested in adopting and implementing the model. See how it can support your school!

Vermont Department of Health: Physical Activity and Nutrition, 108 Cherry Street, Suite 203, Burlington, VT 05401

 

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