|Healthy Behaviors - Diet and Physical Activity |
The Rapides Foundation’s Diet and Physical Activity Initiative targeted schools and communities throughout Central Louisiana during 2012. School-age children learned healthy habits they can carry into adulthood, and all Cenla residents were given the opportunity to eat healthy and get physically active.
The Foundation supported Central Louisiana schools by providing the nationally recognized SPARK and CATCH curriculums in grades K-8, which are designed to get students more active and teach them the importance of healthy eating. A new program called the Living Healthy Club was implemented in grades 9-12 and focused on nutrition, exercise and tobacco prevention.
The Community Implementation Grant program continued in 2012, with the Foundation awarding 31 grants to organizations and communities throughout the nine-parish service area. These grants were used for walking trails, playgrounds, farmers markets, community gardens and other projects that were designed to increase healthy eating and physical activity opportunities for people of all ages.
In 2012 the Foundation implemented the Healthy Lifestyle Program, a project administered by CMAP that provides one-on-one counseling to individuals who are referred by their doctors. This free, six-month program provides clients with resources to lead healthy lifestyles. The program provided coaching from a registered dietitian and exercise specialist to 180 people by the end of the year.
The Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance was awarded a grant from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation to create the Central Louisiana Local Foods Initiative. With matching funding from The Rapides Foundation, the project creates a sustainable agricultural economy in the region. It encourages local farmers to provide locally grown food for the community.
Late in the year the Foundation kicked off the Make a Healthy Holiday Habit campaign, which offered tips for eating healthy and staying active during the hectic holiday season. The Foundation brought the campaign to four Central Louisiana communities, where residents could sample healthy holiday recipes and take a walk with Santa.