Health Matters Spring 2019 - Page 8

continued from page 4 Live Identifying The Need Archbold used its 2016-2017 Community Health Needs Assessment to decide how and where to focus the atten- tion of Live Better. Qualitatively, obesity ranked #2 on the top ten perceived health issues in Thomas County. Co-morbidities related to obesity filled out six of the nine remaining places. Quantitatively, according to the CDC and the Univer- sity of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, the Thomas County obesity rate is higher than in Georgia and the rest of the country. Along with the prevalence of chronic disease, these averages and are generally rising, and the impact on families and businesses are profound. “After we reviewed the measures, we realized we had an opportunity to create very focused, simple goals,” said Lowe. “Instead of addressing all our disease states separately, concentrate on the one condition that could achieve the greatest value and affect the most disease states — obesity. By focusing on obesity, we were ad- dressing high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and many other correlated health conditions.” Evidence of Collaboration and Community Outreach My Plate and ChooseMyPlate.gov are the United States Department of Agri- culture effort that redefined the tradi- tional food pyramid, transforming the pyramid concept of food groups to cate- gories represented visually on a plate. Live Better decided to use My Plate as the centerpiece of addressing its K-5 goals. In 2016, Archbold purchased over 5,000 My Plates and My Plate placemats for every K-5 student in Thomas County. Every year since then, Archbold has purchased a My Plate and placemat for every rising Kindergarten student. The Live Better team works with school nu- trition directors to plan a My Plate day where students are encouraged to take the contents of their school lunches and put the foods in the appropriate sections on the My Plate to visually see how to make a My Plate meal. Archbold has committed to continuing funding these purchases as part of Live Better’s long-term strate- gy. Also, grade-specific My Plate wellness curriculums were created for integration into the health education courses for all K-5 students. Jeana Smith, Regis- tered Dietit- ian Nutrition- ist and Certi- fied Diabetes Educator at Archbold, provides nu- tritional guid- ance and pro- gram man- agement for Live Better. “At the end of the 2017- 18 school year, we sought feed- back from the school administra- tors and teachers. We used this feedback to modify our My Plate wellness curriculums to create an even higher- profile focused approach for use in the 2018-19 school year. Students only have so much control over choices related to wellness, so we needed to reach parents with our Live Better messages as well. To help reinforce our school wellness curriculum, we created and provided Live Better print materials to go home on a cyclical basis to parents of each K-5 student. One added piece is ‘Well- ness Wednesday’ health tips. Each Wednesday during the school year, a Live Better health tip is shared during the morning announcements at school and a corre- sponding Live Better handout goes home to parents. We also developed a Superfood of the Month series, working with the school nutrition directors to select superfoods to highlight and incorporate into the school cafeteria menu each month. As part of our Superfood of the Month series, Superfood posters are delivered to each school for display in the cafeteria during the respective months. We also design and print Superfood newsletters that go home to par- ents each month that include Superfood nu- tritional benefits, preparation tips and recipes,” Smith said. The Superfood series also includes Super- food “Try Days” at all Thomas County ele- mentary schools provided by Morrison Healthcare, Archbold’s food and nutrition team. Try Days give students a chance to taste the Superfood of the Month in a recipe prepared by Morrison’s chef, and the recipe is sent home as well. Students who taste the superfood receive an “I am a Superfood Hero, I tried something new today” sticker and are able to enter their name for door prize drawings. During the current school year, Live Better visited each of the seven Thomas County elementary schools, where ap- proximately 4,000 K-5 students had the opportunity to taste a Superfood. Over 98 percent of the students pre- sent at Try-Days tried a Superfood. For most of the stu- dents it was either the first time they tasted that particu- lar superfood or the first time they tasted it prepared in such a way. Team Live Better In 2018, the YMCA’s Team Lean transitioned into a “phase two” of the program called Team Live Better. Team Live Better is a three-month program for Team Lean participants to continue their journey toward weight loss or weight maintenance and help them transi- tion from the eight-week weight-loss competition to a long-term healthy lifestyle. As part of Team Live Better, Please see LIVE, page 9