Healthy eating and physical activity are critical for children’s health and well-being. Poor diet and insufficient activity may lead to chronic health conditions such as diabetes that can follow children into adulthood.
Where we live has a large impact on our ability to provide children access to healthy foods and opportunities to be active. Environmental features, such as community design, can support or hinder our ability to provide healthful foods and physical activity opportunities that impact children’s health.
GROW Healthy Kids and Communities, in partnership with OSU Extension Service, seeks to affect community change by recruiting residents to identify features in their community that are supports and/or barriers to eating healthy and being physically active. One way to gather this information is with HEAL MAPPS™.
HEAL MAPPS™ is an exciting Oregon State University Extension Family & Community Health community engagement program. HEAL MAPPS™ helps community stakeholders document people’s experience of place with respect to supports and barriers for habitual healthy eating and physical activity. We will provide your community with a MAPPS™ report to help facilitate and guide your community’s efforts for creating an environment that supports eating healthy and being physically active most every day for children and families.
Participatory Action Research
The entire process aims to engage and mobilize community residents and sector partners to explore local factors that contribute to rural obesity rates
Community Photo Mapping
Identifies environmental features, both community supports and barriers, that impact certain actions or behaviors
Focused Group Decision Making
Focuses on and makes decisions about which photographed features best represent the supports or barriers community
Captures the voiced experience of people as they navigate their community place, telling the story of what makes it easy or hard to perform particular actions or behaviors and of the community’s perceptions of readiness to address the issues
Provides information to local stakeholders and decision-makers that is informed by community consensus
The HEAL MAPPS™ toolkit is currently being turned into an online training that should be available October 2017.