The CDC/NCPPA state coalition micro-grant project has been a huge success! Eight states participated with the goal of supporting the CDC’s Youth Media Campaign at the local level by planning and implementing a media or awareness campaign. The grantees were also required to collaborate with local groups in an effort to put more muscle behind the message. Collaborations, as is evident in the following eight descriptions, were key to carrying out these successful projects and, in some instances, ensured the various program messages will linger well into the future.
Congratulations to all the project coordinators and those who assisted! You are doing your part to positively impact the lives of our nation’s youth and get them moving!
Colorado – Colorado is in the midst of the implementation of its project. Currently, project coordinators are conducting educational sessions encouraging walking to school and the importance of practicing appropriate safety measures for 1500 Denver area elementary and middle school students. The project included the development and distribution of educational materials and used the media to help disseminate the message further. The Colorado Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity (CCPPA) is targeting the statewide initiative “Walking Wednesday” as the project’s culminating event. The recognition of the Colorado Foundation for Physical Fitness as a lead partner in the statewide “Walking Wednesday” initiative on behalf of the CO Department of Transportation and the CO Department of Public Health and Environment has been a highlight for the coalition. The recognition of the Foundation and the partnership of the CCPPA with the Foundation on this particular grant project helped increase the visibility of the CCPPA’s effort and their message of the importance of being physically active and safe.
Delaware – Delaware collaborated with the DE Department of Education, University of Delaware, and DE Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (DAHPERD) on a competition among middle and elementary schools to design a media campaign with the goal of promoting physical activity among “tweens.” The groups piggybacked off the Delaware “Get Up and Do Something” campaign and used a video clip from the campaign as entrée for introducing the media competition to the schools. Twenty schools accepted the challenge and turned in a total of twelve videos, six poster boards/collages, one audiotape, and one t-shirt. The DAHPERD board judged the project submissions. Nine monetary awards were given to the top three schools in each county. First place garnered $850, second place $450 and third place finishers received $200. Schools receiving the financial awards are required to report on how the money was used to promote physical activity within the school.
New York – The New York collation focused on the development of a website as a vehicle for promoting the physical activity message. The group partnered with three local youth serving organizations that provided participants for focus groups. Forty-six children participated in the focus groups and answered previously developed questions and reviewed youth oriented web-sites for feedback. The coalition hired a graphic designer and illustrator to develop the characters and layout for the “Be Active Kidz” web page. A follow-up focus group reviewed the page after its development and the feedback was positive. In order to promote the resource, the Buffalo News printed a press release promoting the launch of the “Be Active Kidz” portion of the coalition’s website (www.nysphysicalactivity.org). In addition to the benefit of developing a youth directed web page, another positive outcome of the project was the opportunity to develop relationships with the local youth-serving organizations.
Oregon – The Oregon Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity (OCPPA) co-sponsored last year’s Walk to School Day with a variety of local partners. The Coalition used the CDC grant funds to promote Walk to School Day (WTS) to the Portland metropolitan area. Though the event focused primarily on increasing the involvement of children ages 9-13, this year’s events also targeted parents, teachers, and community leaders who can serve as physical activity role models. The OCPPA achieved all six goals it had outlined for the event including the goal to double the number of participating middle and elementary schools from 16 to 32 (they actually had 34). Increasing the visibility of the OCPPA and the other partnering organizations was another goal. Twenty-six editorials and op-ed pieces were published in various Oregon newspapers as a result. At many of the event sites, lively discussions were held on the issues of promoting active communities, achieving another OCPPA/ WTS Day goal. Finally, the enhanced community partnerships that were formed as a result of this project created an enthusiasm around the active communities initiative that OCPPA hopes will lead to another successful WTS Day in 2003.
South Carolina – The Bike to School Bash, an event co-hosted by the South Carolina Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity (SCCPPA) and the Palmetto Cycling Coalition (PCC), was the result of the CDC/ NCPPA micro-grant. The collaborative effort focused on bicycle safety, physical activity, and healthy lifestyles among Columbia area youth. The day’s events included a Bike Safety Rodeo that addressed bicycle safety skills while creating enthusiasm around bicycling as a great physical activity. Professional cyclists from the PCC demonstrated various cycling and safety skills. In addition to all the fun activities and great information provided at the event, 150 bicycle helmets were custom fit and given away to every child needing one. Other activities included a rock-climbing wall, chair massages, coloring contest, live music, and an essay contest: the winners of which received a $250 gift certificate good towards the purchase of a bike of their choice. All told, 300 children participated in this successful event. Next year, the SCCPPA and PCC hope to identify the Bike to School Bash as a facilitator of the Safe Routes to School message.
Vermont – Vermont partnered with a local chapter of the civic group, People in Partnership (PIP), to insert a physical activity and nutrition component in the PIP’s mentor training program. The goal of the program is to expose the benefits of physical activity and proper nutritional habits to young children in the mentoring program who are at-risk of being overweight or obese. Brochures were distributed in fourteen towns targeting high school students and adults who could serve as mentors. Seventy-nine individuals have gone through the enhanced training program as of January 2003 and plans are to continue using the physical activity and nutritional component permanently. The coalition has high hopes that over a period of time, they will see results in the form of a decrease in overweight and obesity in the youths participating in the PIP mentoring program. The remarks of the mentors as they learn about the staggering numbers in regards to obesity and diabetes among youths today have proven to the coalition and PIP that there is a need for this information to be disseminated and there is a need for others to get out there and get people moving!
Washington – The Moving Ahead Project: Safe & Active Routes to School is the focus of the Washington coalition. Two middle schools have been recruited to participate in the program, which will run March to May 2003. As an example of the projects scope, a class in one of the selected middle schools will be dedicating each Friday during the project period towards carrying out the Moving Ahead Project. The coalition formulated a survey students will use to assess the bike or walkability to their school. Results of the survey will be used to determine and publicize routes that are deemed to be safe. The project will culminate with the students promoting a bike/ walk to school month in conjunction with a local cycling club’s bike to work month. The coalition believes this month long trial period will provide a successful platform to show how easy it can be to incorporate physical activity into every school (or work) day.
State Spotlight: Texas City Making Healthy Strides
In an effort to highlight best practices at the state level, we looked outside of an official state coalition to Lufkin, TX. The city of Lufkin had enough of a good thing going on with its city employee fitness program and a successful wellness program that it deserved a moment in the spotlight.
Six years ago C.G. Maclin, Lufkin’s City Manager, was given the opportunity to start a wellness program for city employees. Employees who meet the parameters defining a healthy lifestyle measured by blood pressure and cholesterol tests and no tobacco use get their health insurance annual deductible lowered from $500 to $200. In addition, employees receive free PSA/mammogram testing and $300 each year for an annual physical.
The program has proven to be a success. Lufkin’s insurance operating budget (they are self-funded) has gone from $400,000 in the red 12 years ago to $2.6 million in the black and it’s seen a reduction in claims for major procedures.
With proven results and blessed with a city council that understands the benefit of good fiscal and physical health, Mr. Maclin and his staff were given the green light to develop a physical fitness program for the city’s fire and police departments. The program was operational for 1.5 years before being offered to all city employees last month. Four main goals outline the program:
- Promote and encourage a healthy lifestyle;
- Improve the health, fitness, and quality of life of the participants;
- Encourage maximum participation by employees;
- Reduce the number and severity of work-related injuries; and
- Enhance recovery from illness or injury.
Qualifying is no easy feat. The employee must complete a free physician’s physical prior to enrollment (there are medical modifications made to the program for those who don’t pass the physical) and pass timed endurance tests each quarter including a 1.5 mile run or 3 mile walk, push-ups or pull-ups, and sit-ups. The testing measures are challenging (participants can have 2 attempts per testing period to pass) however, the benefits are well worth it. For those who maintain the fitness level required, he or she receives:
- A complimentary health club membership (participants must use the club 8 times/month);
- Elimination of his or her annual insurance deductible (having completed the parameters defined for the wellness program—blood/cholesterol testing and tobacco use);
- Twelve hours of “physical fitness comp time” each quarter with a maximum 36 hour comp time bank.
In the program’s brief history, Mr. Maclin has seen sick leave in the police department go down and he can show a reduction in worker’s compensation claims. With 35% of the firefighter and police departments participating, these are not slouchy results. Next January Mr. Maclin hopes to complete a trend analysis to prove the program’s benefit. Last quarter 75-100 employees participated in the testing and with no formal advertising, Mr. Maclin hopes the program continues to gain popularity via word of mouth. So far, feedback from participants has been very high. When asked what reasons people site for not participating, Maclin rambled off the usual list of suspects…. lack of discipline or too much going on with kids or school. With all the added benefits including a health club membership and elimination of an insurance deductible, this program is as good as getting paid to remain physically active and who doesn’t want to have a little extra spending money? Now that’s news worth spreading.
State Spotlight: South Carolina: Imagining the Possibilities
When it comes to advocating for physical activity, those in the field tend to focus on the grim statistics highlighting the ever-increasing number of Americans who are overweight and physically inactive and suffering from a myriad of health conditions as a result. Instead of concentrating on those negatives, the individuals at the South Carolina Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity (SCPPA) are taking a different approach. They are focusing on the possibilities.
Development of SCPPA has taken a path similar to many non-profit undertakings. The small staff and strong core of volunteers worked to establish a charter and board of directors, acquire non-profit status, secure grant funding, and hire a part-time executive director. By building a strong foundation, SCPPA has created the capacity to really make a difference through conference participation and outreach efforts in communities and local schools. To date, successful SCPPA activities have included:
- Walk to School Day
- Safe Routes to School advocacy
- A physical activity conference; and
- Bike to School Bash (a NCPPA/CDC grant initiative).
One of SCPPA’s priorities is advocacy. SCPPA Board President, Bill Robinson, recognizes that real advocacy happens by those closest to the community. Realizing this, the coalition appreciates the individual member citizens who lend their time and resources towards strengthening the coalition’s voice. The support of the state chapter of the American Heart Association, the Prevention Research Center at the University of South Carolina, the Palmetto Cycling Coalition, and the state Department of Health ensures the coalition’s advocacy efforts have solid roots and backing.
SCPPA also enjoys a collaborative and complimentary relationship with the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness. The Coalition hopes to continue that relationship with newly elected Governor Mark Sanford—an avid runner. One challenge has been to establish SCPPA as a physical activity entity that is not viewed as a rival to the Governor’s Council. In addition to lending support, the coalition knows it can distinguish itself from the council by focusing on its ability to advocate for physical activity in local, state, and federal legislation.
In 2003, SCPPA will concentrate its efforts on writing a new strategic plan and increasing its membership. The coalition is also eager to bring on the executive director full-time and will continue to work on securing funding to meet the goals outlined in the strategic plan. Spreading the physical activity message via a media campaign has already been established as a priority. The coalition envisions an “imagine South Carolina” campaign focusing on the SCPPA vision for a state with decreased chronic disease, reduced health care costs, more physically active citizens and the possibilities that come in such a landscape.
For more information on SCPPA contact Executive Director Amy Splittgerber at 803-798-9086 or email@example.com
State Spotlight: Be Active Minnesota! Ready to Go!
Be Active Minnesota! (BAMN) is set to be publicly launched on January 11, 2003 at the Mall of America proving to Executive Director Murray Harber that both hard work and teamwork pay off.
In 1996 Harber was chosen to chair the Minnesota chapter of NCPPA though it wasn’t until a 2000 planning retreat attended by representatives from the CDC, Michigan and North Carolina, that BAMN was crafted. The driving forces behind the organization’s development included important collaborations with the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation (MHIF), Minnesota Department of Health, and the support network of the 300 members of the Minnesota Council on Physical Activity and Sport.
Even through the developmental stages, the organization was capitalizing on its charge. Some initial activities included participation in the CDC’s AIM 30 initiative; a successful email and letter writing campaign calling for the retention of a physical education requirement for high school graduates; and another campaign advocating and promoting the PEP grants (8 public or independent school districts in Minnesota were awarded PEP funding).
BAMN has found its niche within the state by playing a supportive vs. service-oriented role. How do they lend this support? Partnerships are key. BAMN finds partnering opportunities with other organizations looking to increase the awareness and recognition of physical activity as an integral component of a healthy lifestyle.
When asked about what steps other states looking to initiate a coalition or increase an existing coalition’s visibility should take, Harber had the following suggestions to offer. First, he said that the initial planning workshop was vital because stakeholders could learn from experts in regards to organizational development and relationship building. In addition, capitalizing on people and organizations and their varying backgrounds was also important. This is evident in BAMN’s board and the sub-committee structure. Harber stated, “Building a board with cross representation from…public health, transportation, health care delivery, [and] physical education…was key.”
The importance of that diversity in terms of positions held and sectors represented was also essential in formulating the sub-committees. For example, the Advocacy sub-committee is lead by Jill Birhbaum, Public Policy Director for the Minnesota chapter of the American Heart Association. Birhbaum and her committee members are working on policy recommendations for the 2003 state legislative session. In terms of the board’s role, Harber offers praise for the work they did to develop strategic and public relations plans. Finally, in regards to what not to do, Harber stated clearly “Don’t reinvent the wheel [and] find collaborations that make sense.”
BAMN 2003 priorities:
- Expanding the leadership capability by electing five additional Board members
- Launching an interactive web site (www.beactiveminnesota.org)
- Building brand awareness through the implementation of a public relations plan
- Capitalizing on new partnership opportunities
- Building a database of supporters and donors for future development initiatives
- Co-sponsoring “America Walks” with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minneapolis on the
local PBS station.
- Promoting the CDC’s youth media campaign, Verb, It’s what you do
What Happened Where?
NCPPA tracks state legislative activity on physical activity and related issues such as nutrition, obesity, prevention, appropriations, and community/afterschool programs among others. If you are a member of NCPPA and would like to see the latest State Legislative Report, please contact the Outreach Coordinator, Elaine Ayensu at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202 454 7518.
Be Active Minnesota Meeting Provides Capstone to “Costs of Inactivity” Study
Be Active Minnesota held their first “Stakeholder’s Workshop” May 15th to provide a discussion forum on the problem and solutions surrounding the physical inactivity crisis. The featured speaker was Mark Fenton, former editor of Walking magazine and host of the PBS series America’s Walking. Fenton’s remarks focused on the implementation of strategies to promote physical activity in communities with specific policy and environmental changes and the building of interdisciplinary partnerships.
Earlier in the day, Governor Ventura weighed in on the issue with the release of a state Department of Health study on the costs of physical inactivity in Minnesota.
According to the study, physical inactivity cost Minnesota $495 million in preventable medical costs in 2000.
For more information, please see: www.beactiveminnesota.org
New York State Coalition Introduces Legislation
The New York Physical Activity Coalition has worked with state legislators to introduce legislation to create the “Council On Physical Activity Promotion and Obesity Prevention.” The Council (a collaboration of public, private and non-profit partners) will be responsible for increasing awareness of physical inactivity, overweight and obesity related concerns and will assist local communities in minimizing the effects of stress, helping to prevent serious medical conditions and managing health care costs while creating local environments supportive of healthy lifestyles. For more information on New York’s efforts, go to http://www.nysphysicalactivity.org.