By Grace King, Mt. Pleasant News
Healthy Henry County Communities has been awarded a grant by the Iowa Department of Public Health that is focused on making Mt. Pleasant a healthier place to live.
Mt. Pleasant was chosen by the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) as one of four communities to receive the $15,800 grant in Iowa, where they want to initiate the 5-2-1-0 Childhood Health Campaign. This campaign focuses on promoting five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day, two hours or less of recreational screen time a day, one hour of physical activity a day and zero sugar sweetened beverages.
Mt. Pleasant was chosen based on strategies already in place in the community identified by the County Health Needs Assessment, said Zach James, planning director with Southeast Iowa Regional Planning Commission (SEIRPC), who presented the grant during the Healthy Henry County Communities (HHCC) meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 7.
SEIRPC will be working with HHCC in developing strategies to enact the grant. When James contacted HHCC coordinator Kelly Carr a couple weeks ago about the grant opportunity, they both agreed that 5-2-1-0 seemed like a good fit with the work HHCC is already doing in Mt. Pleasant.
The program is currently being established across the state of Iowa by IDPH, launching first in Des Moines County last week. The initiative was developed in Maine in 2006 as an evidence-based prevention framework to promote healthy lifestyle choices for children, youth and families, James said. Now, the program is being used in counties across the U.S. and in several other countries.
The initiative is implemented through a multi-sector approach, integrating the 5-2-1-0 ideas into workplaces and schools. This means engaging the community through a board such as HHCC, implementing it into specific sectors like a school or workplace, and creating an action plan. For Mt. Pleasant, the grant requires implementation into three child care facilities and one health care facility.
?There?s a lot of different channels they?re trying to get to,? James said.
The HHCC board chose Henry County Head Start, the Rec Center?s after school program and New London?s Childcare center as child care facilities to implement 3-2-1-0, and Family Medicine of Mt. Pleasant as the required health care facility.
James is going to go back to IDPH and verify the sites to make sure they are in accordance with IDPH?s requirements for the grant. After those are approved, each site will go through an assessment form and an action plan will be established. IDPH wants action plans created by the first of December.
Henry County Health Center dietitian Elise Klopfenstein shared concerns that the grant targets children four years old and younger who won?t be able to relay about eating healthy to an action plan committee.
James said that although the initiative does target children because the money for the grant comes from the Childhood Obesity Fund, the message will reach everyone. He also reiterated that he too has more questions about 5-2-1-0 that he will ask IDPH and return with answers to HHCC?s next meeting. This includes a better understanding of how HHCC will measure the outcomes of 5-2-1-0.
?How is that measured on the impact of children? I don?t know.? James said. ?I think they gave us some measurables, but again, this (grant) happened very quickly.?
Present at the meeting was Fred Miller, professor at Iowa Wesleyan University (IW), who said he wants to continue incorporating IW into the dialogue of this grant and build a cooperative effort with Mt. Pleasant to advance the message.
No more than 50 percent of the 5-2-1-0 grant can be used for marketing, printing or incentives.
In other news during the HHCC meeting, Carr said the HRSA Grant action team is beginning assessment of the Henry County Health Center?s health care system, ranking nine categories from biggest to least need within the county.
?This is a really important part of our action planning for HRSA,? Carr said.
Carr also announced that she applied for the EHCCF grant, asking for $8,400 to promote healthy communities. She will hear back by the end of November.
The next HHCC meeting is Dec. 5.