New-Movin-for-LIFE-project-works-with-communities-to-improve-health

New Movin' for LIFE project works with communities to improve health

We all know we should be eating healthfully and getting regular physical activity, but actually doing so isn't always easy. So how can we support communities in New Orleans to meet those goals?

The Tulane Prevention Research Center has started a new project – Movin' for LIFE – with the goal of finding out how to help residents in specific neighborhoods improve their diet and physical activity and putting the resources in place to make it happen.

A variety of strategies will be used to promote active and healthy lifestyles. Lessons learned will be used to create a model toolkit for other neighborhoods in New Orleans and beyond. Some aspects of the project have already started, such as talking with community partners, holding focus groups, identifying and mapping resources in the project's communities, and forming two community-based coalitions.

The two coalitions – representing communities in the Upper and Lower Ninth Ward and, in New Orleans East, West Lake Forest and Little Woods – have been meeting for the past year to guide the project, coming up with the project's name, logo and other components. Membership in the coalitions is open to the public, and residents in the neighborhoods are encouraged to join.

Additionally, Movin' for LIFE will include a photovoice project, thanks to a $25,000 grant from the Greater New Orleans Foundation. The money will be used to work with up to 40 individuals in the Ninth Ward and New Orleans East to take pictures of their lives and neighborhoods to document what helps them to be healthy, as well as what prevents them from being healthy. A gallery showing will conclude the photovoice project in fall 2016 with the pictures on display for the public, community leaders, and city officials to view.

Movin' for LIFE will also include a social marketing campaign focused on connecting residents to healthy eating and physical activity resources in their community by using marketing strategies to promote health and conducting outreach through traditional media and social media.

To show the impact of Movin' for LIFE, observations of outdoor physical activity will be recorded. Soon research assistants, who are students at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, will visit the project neighborhoods to observe outdoor activity. Research assistants will also help map the food environment, or what types of food stores are available and what foods they offer. These measurements will be recorded again in a few years to see if any changes have been made.

For information about Movin' for LIFE or to join one of the coalitions guiding the project, contact Tulane PRC Program Manager Revonda Darensbourg at rdarens@tulane.edu or 504-988-4188.

By Naomi King Englar, Tulane PRC staff
December 2015

(Photo: The Movin’ for LIFE project name and logo were developed in 2015 with guidance from the Movin’ for Life Ninth Ward and New Orleans East coalitions.)

Topics:   community health , community advisory board , obesity , health communication

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