$50,000 grant will help expand promotion of local healthy lifestyle initiatives – Salisbury Post

By Natalie Anderson
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SALISBURY — Members of the Healthy Rowan Coalition say a recent $50,000 award to the city will help expand and promote lifestyle education initiatives among area youth and reduce the risk of disease chronicles.

Mayor Karen Alexander received the grant on behalf of the City of Salisbury last week at the annual Conference of United States Mayors. Called the 2022 Childhood Obesity Prevention and Environmental Health and Sustainability Award, it is a partnership between the US Congress of Mayors and the American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America. Salisbury was one of nine towns in the country to receive an award. Other cities of comparable size included Daytona Beach in Florida and White Plains in New York.

Jennifer West, who leads the lifestyle medication initiative with Healthy Rowan, said the funding will help expand the county’s collaborative work to apply its focus area. Lifestyle medicine uses evidence-based therapeutic approaches to prevent, treat, and reverse chronic disease by focusing on individual behaviors such as nutrition, sleep, exercise, stress, and substance use.

She cited a pilot program through the county’s Community Care Clinic to put into practice the nationwide “5-2-1-0” public awareness campaign. Using this model, providers “prescribe” five fruits and vegetables each day, limiting screen time to no more than two hours per day, physical activity for at least one hour per day, and avoidance of beverages. sweet. West said the measures allow providers to partner with their patients and coach them rather than outright saying what they should or shouldn’t do.

This program is currently for adults. Thanks to the grant, the efforts will be extended to young people in the region.

West said lifestyle medicine isn’t often taught in the typical medical school curriculum. The grant will allow providers who work with Healthy Rowan partner entities to complete educational training in lifestyle medicine. She added that up to 80% of chronic diseases can be prevented through healthier lifestyles.

Salisbury Pediatrics and Rowan County Health Department will primarily deliver the program.

Additionally, the funding will help cover some of the membership fees for families when referred to the YMCA as well as a soon-to-be-launched educational initiative with NC Cooperative Extension in Rowan County to address food insecurity.

Healthy Rowan Program Manager Courtney Meece told the Post that the grant came at the “perfect time” because Alexander and Rowan County Health Director Alyssa Harris approached Meece and West about of this grant opportunity at the end of last year and “knew immediately that it was something we had to go for.”

“Jenn and I worked alongside Rowan County Health Department Quality Improvement Specialist Vera Avery to craft this proposal and honestly, it was like assembling the dream team,” said said Meece. “I really have to thank Jenn and Vera for securing this funding, it was truly a group effort.”

Particularly as a parent, West said she appreciates the opportunity for providers to share education about healthy lifestyles with patients before future concerns arise. Often patients and providers aren’t aware of all the resources available, so the funding will help “improve the connection of community and clinical services.”

“Everyone deserves this kind of information, but not everyone gets it,” West said.

Alexander said it was particularly appealing that the Healthy Rowan Coalition was family-oriented.

“These children could one day be teachers, first responders, business owners or even future elected officials here in Salisbury and I believe we owe it to them to give them all the tools they need to live their healthiest lives,” Meece said. “And with this award, we can help do that.”

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

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