UPDATE 2/22/13 @ 7:30 p.m.
ASHLAND, Ky. (WSAZ) -- The Ashland-Boyd County Health Department has $210,000 in the bank, thanks to grant money to fund a new program to help families improve the health and well-being of their children.
"We want this to be a positive experience," says Holly West, the public health coordinator for the Ashland-Boyd County Health Department. "It's a commitment, but there's a huge payoff."
The program, called Appalachian Partnership for Positive Living and Eating (APPLE), identifies elementary aged children in three school districts (Ashland, Boyd and Fairview) at risk for being overweight or obese.
"It's not always easy to stay on top of things," says Kristie Flowers. She's a mom in the Ashland district who stopped by to learn more information about the program. "We do our best, but eating healthy all the time can be a time challenge."
Families will move through different levels of interventions, addressing barriers to good health in three phases. They include: intensive community based case management, school based supervision and health maintenance.
The Ashland-Boyd County Health Department has roughly two dozen families already enrolled in the the free program. It has room for up to 500 families.
Contact the Ashland-Boyd County Health Department for more information.
The grant is from AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation’s "Connections for Cardiovascular Health" program.
The program called Appalachian Partnership for Positive Living and Eating (A.P.P.L.E) identifies participants by measuring the body mass index of an estimated 3,500 elementary-aged children in three school districts across Boyd County.
Students identified as overweight are invited to participate in the program.
"The A.P.P.L.E. program has the potential to save lives in Boyd County by helping local children and families overcome challenges to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and by reducing their risk of developing cardiovascular disease," said Maria Hardy, MSN, Ashland-Boyd County Health Department's Public Health Director.
According to a news release, once students are identified as participants in the program, case managers then work one-on-one with families to support them in making lifestyle changes to improve the health of their children and their quality of life.
Families move through different levels of interventions, addressing barriers to good health in three phases: Intensive Community-Based Case Management, School-based Supervision and Health Maintenance.
“Cardiovascular disease continues to be the nation’s No. 1 killer, which is why we must work to decrease the risks of this devastating disease," said James W. Blasetto, M.D., MPH, FACC chairman of the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation.
During the first three to six months, families are provided with the most intensive case management at home. In the following months, the participants progress to a school-based phase.
Once children reach all goals recorded in their Individualized Treatment Plan, they progress to the maintenance stage and are routinely monitored by program staff.
A staff nutritionist works closely with families to provide nutrition counseling, help caregivers read and understand nutrition labels, develop grocery lists and prepare healthy meals on a budget.
A physical activity coordinator assesses current physical activity levels and helps families increase opportunities for physical activity.
Mental health providers are available to assist families throughout the health improvement process.
Two groups in W.Va. also received grants.