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Work Team Overview

Board of Directors (BOD):  Members of the Board of Directors include the President, Chair, Chair Elect, Secretary, Treasurer, Workgroup Team Co-Chairs and Members-at-Large. The BOD provides guidance for the overall coalition and coordinates policy issues, strategy development, research and evaluation among the workgroup teams.

Access to Healthy Foods Team:  In too many neighborhoods, families are surrounded by high calorie, low nutritional value options with minimal, if any, access to affordable healthy foods, including fresh fruits & vegetables. Leading national organizations have focused on communities’ essential front-line role and actions that local governments can take to prevent obesity.

The Access to Healthy Foods Team has used Healthy People 2020 guidelines to formulate its areas of focus, including:

  • Improving access to local fruits, vegetables and dairy, especially through the Farm to School Program,
  • Providing education about healthy, affordable food preparation through the Cooking Matters and Shopping Matters programs, and
  • Promoting breastfeeding for at least one year after birth and supporting mothers who choose to breastfeed.

Access to Physical Activity Team:  A lack of physical activity is one of the leading contributors to obesity and poor health. In many neighborhoods, there are not sufficient, safe places for walking, bike riding, or physical play. Communities have a front-line role when it comes to the community environment.

The institute of Medicine also identifies most promising action steps for increasing physical activity:

  • Plan, build, and maintain a network of sidewalks and street crossings that connect schools, parks, and other destinations.
  • Adopt community policing strategies that improve safety and security of streets and park use, especially in higher-crime neighborhoods.
  • Collaborate with schools to develop and implement a Safe Routes to Schools program to increase the number of children safely walking and bicycling to school.
  • Build and maintain parks and playgrounds that are safe and attractive for playing, and in close proximity to residential areas.
  • Institute policy standards for play space, physical equipment, and duration of play in preschool, afterschool, and childcare programs.

Early Childhood & Schools Team:  Programs are being developed across the state that improve access to healthy foods and increased physical activity for pre-school children and in schools. Models and funding are available to GHCs. Some of these important programs include:

  • Better Beginnings, Arkansas’s Quality Rating Improvement Systems.
  • School-Based Health Center (SBHC) grants to provide mental health and physical health on the school campus in order to increase students’ access to these services.
  • Joint Use Agreement (JUA) grants provide incentives to schools in partnership with their community to share use of sports and recreation facilities.

Worksite Wellness Team:  Seven out of ten deaths among Americans each year are from chronic diseases. Heart disease, cancer and stroke account for more than 50% of all deaths each year. Obesity has become a major heath concern since 1 in every 3 adults is obese. Because most adults spend at least 45% of their day at work, it is important for employers to offer a supportive environment to assist their staff in leading a healthy lifestyle. Employers often are unaware of successful worksite interventions that address chronic disease cost drivers within their employee populations.

The workgroup has compiled and continues to update a comprehensive web-based clearinghouse/toolkit that is a resource for employers and human resource personnel. The resources include a collection of best practice and evidence-based worksite intervention programs that are proven effective for employers to model in their worksite. The resources also demonstrate how improving employee health improves the bottom-line. The focus areas include policy, system and environment changes in:

  • Physical activity space and break time
  • Nutritional standards and guidelines
  • Lactaction accomodations for working parents