The primary target population is children in grades K-8 in high-need school districts. High-need school districts are defined as school districts with a free and reduced priced lunch rate (FRPL) of 60% or higher and childhood obesity rates higher than 17.1% (Childhood Obesity Index). Secondary populations include the children’s families and community organizations within the school districts’ service boundaries, as well as policy makers who influence government, school, and organizational policies and regulations.

Missouri is one of the heaviest states in the country, with 30% of the total population and 31% of children ages 10 to 17 overweight or obese. Childhood obesity is a strong predictor of adult obesity and is associated with increased risk of a variety of chronic disease like diabetes. In aggregate, obesity has been estimated to decrease lifespan by an average of 2-5 years, and leads to significant economic costs to individuals and to the state.

In 2013, MFH established a five year initiative called Healthy Schools Healthy Communities to address childhood obesity in our region. Healthy Schools Healthy Communities seeks to reduce childhood obesity through prevention efforts in selected communities in the MFH region. Overall the initiative will strive to:

  • Increase healthy eating.

  • Increase physical activity.

  • Implement and enforce policy and environmental changes to support healthy eating and physical activity.

  • Engage parents and other stakeholders to promote health and wellness in schools, families, and communities.

A new video shows the partnerships and progress MFH is building through the Healthy Schools Healthy Communities Initiative. Thirteen school districts with nearly 13,000 students are already participating in the Schools as the Hub program. Watch the video to see how you can be a part of changing things in your community.

Healthy Schools, Healthy Communities

Douglas County Health Department

Ava, Missouri