State officials urge communities to ‘Step It Up’ and help people walk more

The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) is challenging communities and organizations to join Step It Up, Kentucky!, a statewide campaign that aims to improve the health of all Kentuckians by building the demand for walkable communities.

Public health recommends getting 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week to improve health, which can easily be achieved by walking. People are more likely to make the decision to walk when they have places, programs and policies that provide opportunities and encouragement.

“Getting people to move more starts with improving the places we live, learn, work and play,” Elaine Russell, coordinator for the Obesity Prevention Program, said in a news release. “Communities can be built for people to be active in their everyday life. By providing safe, attractive and convenient places to walk, anybody can incorporate exercise into their daily routine.”

“Step It Up, Kentucky!” has already received numerous endorsements from businesses, organizations, individuals and state leaders, including Gov. Matt Bevin, who issued an official proclamation in support of “Step It Up, Kentucky!”

There are many things communities can do to support “Step It Up, Kentucky!,” including participating in walking programs, working with local coalitions to create spaces and opportunities for walking, or just spreading the message that Kentucky communities need to be redesigned as thriving places for everybody to be active and healthy.

For more information, visit the Partnership for a Fit Kentucky’s website. If you are interested in reading more about obesity prevention, increasing access to physical activity, or what other communities are doing to encourage wellness, visit the Partnership for a Fit Kentucky’s blog.

 

Kentucky ranks high in new “Kids Movement Index” produced by GoNoodle

gn-logo-flower-greenAccording to a new “Kids Movement Index” released by GoNoodle, the entire state of Kentucky is among the leading states in minutes of movement for kids, while both Louisville and Lexington ranked high among cities for kids’ physical activity.

The report – available online by clicking here – ranks top locations where elementary-school-aged children engaged in the most physical activity during the 2015-16 school year through GoNoodle. Kentucky ranked #3 on the list, Louisville is #2 among large cities (more than 100,000 kids), and Lexington is #2 among small cities (fewer than 50,000 kids).

“With over 10 million kids playing GoNoodle each month across all 50 states and in the top 200 U.S. cities, coupled with GoNoodle’s real-time capture of minutes of physical activity, we created the Kids Movement Index to help better understand how turning sedentary environments into active spaces positively impacts kids’ minutes of movement,” Scott McQuigg, CEO and cofounder of GoNoodle, said in a news release. “The index shows real progress in how teachers and parents are getting kids to incorporate minutes of movement into places not typically thought of as active spaces.”

Passport Health Plan has been partnering with a number of five different health systems around Kentucky to co-sponsor GoNoodle in elementary schools and homes free of charge since 2014 in the following counties:

  • Claire Regional Medical Center (Bath, Carter, Elliott, Fleming, Lewis, Menifee, Montgomery, Morgan, Rowan, and Wolfe counties)
  • Highlands Regional Medical Center (Floyd, Johnson, Magoffin, and Martin counties)
  • Owensboro Health (Daviess, Hancock, Henderson, Hopkins, McLean, and Muhlenberg counties)
  • Hardin Memorial Health (Hardin County)
  • Kosair Children’s Hospital (Adair, Allen, Anderson, Barren, Bell, Boyle, Breathitt, Bullitt, Carroll, Casey, Christian, Clay, Clinton, Cumberland, Edmonson, Franklin, Grayson, Green, Harlan, Hart, Henry, Jefferson, Knott, Knox, Laurel, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Lincoln, Logan, Marion, Mercer, Metcalfe, Monroe, Oldham, Owen, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Russell, Shelby, Simpson, Spencer, Taylor, Todd, Trimble, Warren, Washington, and Whitley counties)

“Too many Kentucky schoolchildren get less than one hour of physical activity each day. To improve these numbers, Passport Health Plan has been working since 2014 with many hospitals and school systems around the Commonwealth to bring the GoNoodle program into classrooms and help our children improve their health and quality of life,” said Passport CEO Mark B. Carter. “We are proud to join with these health systems to bring the GoNoodle program to so many elementary schools around Kentucky. Together, we can help all Kentuckians live healthier lives.”

According to the latest numbers, more than 550 elementary schools were using GoNoodle around Kentucky in April 2016 thanks to Passport, with more than 4,000 different teachers leading nearly 110,000 students in more than 68,000 physical activity breaks! That adds up to more than 4.2 million student minutes of physical activities for the month, bringing the total since the beginning of the school year to more than 36 million minutes of physical activity!

GoNoodle is an interactive resource used in classrooms to increase students’ physical activity and improve their academic performance and is being made available for use in public and private elementary schools, as well as in students’ homes. GoNoodle’s online physical activity breaks make it easy for teachers and parents to get kids moving, which helps improve their behavior, focus, and engagement.

 

Life expectancy around Kentucky can vary by up to 9 years, depending on county of residence

Life Expectancy GraphicAccording to a new study, while the average life expectancy for someone in Kentucky is 76 years, the actual time could vary by up to nine years, depending on where the person lives.

“Health differences between communities are rarely due to a single cause,” researchers at the Virginia Commonwealth University Center on Society and Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation said in a press release.

According to an article in Kentucky Health News, life expectancy is driven by a complex web of factors that influence health: opportunities for education and jobs, safe and affordable housing, availability of nutritious food and places for physical activity, and access to health care, child care and social services.

“The health differences shown in these maps aren’t unique to one area. We see them in big cities, small towns, and rural areas across America,” said Derek Chapman, the VCU center’s associate director for research.

For Kentucky, the highest life expectancy is mostly grouped around the cities of Louisville, Lexington, Frankfort, Bardstown, Elizabethtown, Owensboro and Bowling Green. Meanwhile, the lowest life expectancy rates are seen in the Southeast region of the state, with Perry, Breathitt and Wolfe counties coming in at just 70 years.

For more on the study, please click here.

 

Elementary schools around Kentucky are getting healthier thanks to Passport’s partnerships with health systems to bring GoNoodle into classrooms

Go NoodlePassport has been partnering with a number of hospital systems around Kentucky to co-sponsor a new educational health program called GoNoodle in elementary schools and homes throughout the Commonwealth.

GoNoodle is an interactive resource used in classrooms to increase students’ physical activity and improve their academic performance and is being made available for use in public and private elementary schools, as well as in students’ homes. GoNoodle’s online physical activity breaks make it easy for teachers and parents to get kids moving, which helps improve their behavior, focus, and engagement.

According to the latest numbers, more than 550 elementary schools were using GoNoodle around Kentucky in March 2016 thanks to Passport, with nearly 5,000 different teachers leading more than 129,000 students in more than 104,000 physical activity breaks! That adds up to more than 6.5 million student minutes of physical activities for the month, bringing the total since the beginning of the school year to nearly 32 million minutes of physical activity!

Passport partners with five different health systems to bring the resource into elementary school classrooms free of charge in the following counties:

  • Claire Regional Medical Center (Bath, Carter, Elliott, Fleming, Lewis, Menifee, Montgomery, Morgan, Rowan, and Wolfe counties)
  • Highlands Regional Medical Center (Floyd, Johnson, Magoffin, and Martin counties)
  • Owensboro Health (Breckenridge, Butler, Daviess, Hancock, Henderson, Hopkins, McLean, Muhlenberg, Ohio, Union, and Webster counties)
  • Hardin Memorial Health (Hardin, Larue, Meade, and Nelson counties)
  • Kosair Children’s Hospital (Adair, Allen, Anderson, Barren, Bell, Boyle, Breathitt, Bullitt, Carroll, Casey, Christian, Clay, Clinton, Cumberland, Edmonson, Franklin, Grayson, Green, Harlan, Hart, Henry, Jefferson Knott, Knox, Laurel, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Lincoln, Logan, Marion, Mercer, Metcalfe, Monroe, Oldham, Owen, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Russell, Shelby, Simpson, Spencer, Taylor, Todd, Trimble, Warren, Washington, and Whitley counties)

For more information, go online to gonoodle.com.

 

Obesity prevalence tops 30% of U.S. adults for the first time, according to CDC report

CDC imageThe prevalence of obesity among U.S. adults surpassed 30% for the first time, according to new numbers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The latest numbers, posted on the CDC website, were taken from an early release of findings from January to September of the National Health Interview Survey.

In comparison, the prevalence of obesity among adults 20 and over in 1997 was just 19.5%.

Researchers from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) cautioned that the data is preliminary and has yet to undergo final editing and weighting.

There was better news when it came to physical activity, with the data showing that 21.1% of U.S. adults met the federal physical activity guidelines for both aerobic activity and muscle-strengthening activities, up from 16.0% in 2006, according to the report.

For more information, please click here.

 

Latest dietary guidelines offer recommendations to help Americans maintain good health and reduce risk of disease

dietary guidelinesThe U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently released the “Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020,” described by publishers as “an essential resource for health professionals and policymakers as they design and implement food and nutrition programs that feed the American people.”

Recommendations from “The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines”  are ultimately intended to help individuals improve and maintain overall health and reduce the risk of chronic disease, with a specific emphasis on prevention, not treatment. They are designed for professionals to help all individuals ages 2 years and older and their families consume a healthy, nutritionally adequate diet.

The five key points in “The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines” are:

  1. Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan
  2. Focus on variety, nutrient density, and amount
  3. Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake
  4. Shift to healthier food and beverage choices
  5. Support healthy eating patterns for all

The guidelines and recommendations included in this report are guided by a large body of evidence that shows how healthy eating patterns and regular physical activity can help people achieve and maintain good health and reduce the risk of chronic disease throughout all stages of the lifespan.

For more information and to see the full report, please click here.

 

Kentucky makes improvements in adult obesity rate, according to new report

Kentucky has seen a decrease in its adult obesity rate, to 31.6 percent in 2014 from 33.2 percent in 2013, causing it to drop to 12th in the nation for adult obesity from fifth, according to the latest State of Obesity Report.

Elaine Russell, the state obesity prevention coordinator, told Melissa Patrick of Kentucky Health News that the decrease can be attributed to no one reason, noting that Kentucky has put a great focus on making sure people have access to healthy foods and physical activity.

“It is a comprehensive effort of many different programs, because we are all working toward the same goal to decrease chronic disease and obesity,” Russell said.

Russell said many of the state’s public-private obesity-related have been key to the success, including: the Diabetes Prevention Program; the Partnership for a Fit Kentucky program; national policy changes to make sure pregnant and post-partum women on the Women Infant and Children nutrition program have access to fresh fruits and vegetables; and more.

To read the full article, please click here.

 

Kentuckians Urged to Take More Walks to Stay Healthy

kyhealthThe Kentucky Department for Public Health and the Partnership for a Fit Kentucky are encouraging all Kentuckians to walk more with their friends, family, and neighbors to help improve the overall health and fitness of a state that consistently ranks high in obesity and low in physical activity.

“Summer is the perfect time to renew your commitment to get outdoors and take a walk,” Health Commissioner Stephanie Mayfield said in a news release. “We all know walking is healthy, but it’s also fun, relaxing, and a great way to connect with others. You can invite a friend or loved one out for a nightly walk after dinner, take care of weekend errands on foot, or invite neighbors or co-workers to start a regular walking group. The more you walk, the more you’ll connect and be part of building a stronger, healthier community.”

“Obesity is linked to multiple chronic conditions, including diabetes, heart disease and stroke – and is one of the major chronic conditions affecting the health of Kentuckians,” Elaine Russell, the DPH obesity-prevention coordinator, told Kentucky Health News. “Regular walking could greatly reduce our state’s obesity burden.”

To help Kentuckians prevent obesity and get healthier, the Commonwealth and the Partnership for a Fit Kentucky have produced an online guide  filled with statistics, tips, and policies that can help improve the overall health of Kentucky and its residents.