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Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL SLO)

Healthy Eating Active Living Initiative

The Community Foundation has been working with HEAL SLO to combat the growing problem of obesity. Current numbers place the economic cost of obesity at around $270 billion dollars on a national level. The Centers for Disease Control estimates the cost to California at approximately $7.7 billion. In a recent survey conducted regarding California voters’ concern about the issue of obesity, 60% expressed a level of concern about childhood obesity. It is clear Californians want greater emphasis placed on wellness. Locally, in a survey conducted by ACTION for Healthy Communities and The Community Foundation, it was found that residents in San Luis Obispo county would like more recreation opportunities such as hiking and biking. Also, two-thirds (65.92%) of the parents surveyed felt very concerned about their child eating healthier. Parents also indicated they would allow their child to walk to school if there were more sidewalks and safer routes. This issue is one that strikes a chord with the community.

Here at The Community Foundation, we have been taking action against the rising problem. In 2007, The Community Foundation took a leadership role in forming the Childhood Obesity Prevention Task Force, along with over 30 local partners. The resulting community action plan was designed to identify and understand the local issues related to nutritious food availability and promoting physical activity. The plan went beyond individual responsibility in affecting behavior change to identify the socio-ecological barriers within four domains: family settings, institutions (pre-) school designs and work environments, health care environments, and community design.

In the years since, The Community Foundation has distributed grants totaling over $60,000 to address recommendations within the community action plan. For more information about the Foundation’s Healthy Eating Active Living Initiative, contact Len Smolburd at (805) 543-2323.

Obesity Data Sources:

  • $270 billion national economic cost of obesity, USA Today article 1/12/2011
  • $7.7 billion state economic cost of obesity, CDC State estimates, accessed 2011
  • 32% of the children in SLO County are obese, Childhood Obesity Prevention Task Force 2007 Report
  • 30.5% of children in California are overweight and obese, National Conference of State Legislatures, 2007

HeadStart I am Moving I am Learning Program

HeadStart is working to educate the community about how to teach children healthy habits and fun ways to exercise. Recently, it put on training sessions for teachers and parents for it’s I am Moving I am Learning program, funded by a grant through The Community Foundation.

Walkability Report

Conducted by HEAL-SLO, with a grant from The Community Foundation, this study was prompted by the information that 32% of children in San Luis Obispo County are overweight and 75% never exercise. Two communities, San Miguel and Oceano, were studied. The aim of the report was to see how environment disparities of nutrition and physical activity contributed to the county’s obesity numbers. It gave recommendations as to how to improve the health of the county’s children.

French Hospital’s Healthy for Life Nutrition Lecture Series

$4000 was given to a local hospital to offer the Healthy for Life lecture series, which focused on helping low-income people in the county learn about easy ways to eat healthier and get active. The series focused nutrition education on My Pyramid, label reading, and portion control with a healthy recipe provided. The program was implemented in San Miguel and open to any interested community member.

CAPSLO Barrel Garden Program

The Child Care Resource Connection, a division of Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo (CAPSLO), received $5,000 for a barrel garden project to help encourage families with young children to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Local family based child-care providers were given barrel gardens to cultivate and harvest. Thirty family child-care programs in the county and over 200 children and their families took part in the program.

Healthy Hero campaign

Partnering with HEAL-SLO, The Community Foundation funded this campaign as a way to send kids (pre-school – K2) a positive message about eating healthier and being more active. The program focused on the importance of physical activity, drinking milk, controlling portion size, and starting the day with a healthy breakfast.

HEAL SLO’s Obesity Summit 2010

The Community Foundation co-sponsored and took part in HEAL SLO’s Obesity Summit 2010, the summit to discuss where we were in 2007, when our efforts began and what work is there still left to do.

  • 16.6% of children between 2 and 18 in SLO County have fast food 3 or more times a week, California Health Interview Survey, 2009
  • 47.5% of children in SLO County do not get 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables every day, California Health Interview Survey, 2009

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