A Good Idea
In 2000, community stakeholders formed the Heart Healthy Cerro Gordo County Coalition. Since 2002 this coalition has been working with area schools and the community, offering a wellness initiative called Junior Tracks. This program is made available to fourth grade students in Cerro Gordo County schools over a three-month period as a means to improve health and well being among children and to target childhood obesity. Using a health-centered, rather than weight-centered, approach focusing on encouraging children to live actively and eat in healthy ways, Junior Tracks creates a nurturing environment that helps children recognize their own worth through in-class and community-wide events.
Goal / Mission
The goal of this program is to reduce the prevalence of cardiovascular disease and stroke through changes in community health policies, environment, and individual lifestyle behaviors that will impact the health and wellness of area fourth grade school students.
Results / Accomplishments
Initial program data suggests that students completing the program are more likely to have an awareness of the food guide pyramid, to consume fruit every day, and to participate in physical activity outside of school hours. Also encouraging are student participation and teacher feedback indicating student excitement about program activities. School staff members have increased personal commitment to cardiovascular health along with students. Parents/guardians have reported they are taking to heart information that students share regarding what they have learned, and that they are increasing efforts to exercise as a family where this had not been done before. Though targeted as a fourth grade wellness program, Junior Tracks seems to be influencing more than just student physical activity and nutritional intake.
About this Promising Practice
- Primary Contact
- Tammy J. Bryant, Health Promotion and Education Service Manager
22 N. Georgia Ave. Suite 300
Mason City, IA 50401
Health / Children's Health
Health / Exercise, Nutrition, & Weight
Health / Wellness & Lifestyle
- Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health
- National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO)
- Date of publication
- Date of implementation
- Cerro Gordo County, IA
- For more details
- Target Audience