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Downtown Union Springs, Alabama, where ALProHealth has a presence to help improve.

AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala – ALProHealth was recently featured in Rural Health Models & Innovations, a national collection of successful rural health programs and interventions maintained by the Rural Health Information Hub (RHIhub).

ALProHealth is an obesity prevention and reduction program focused on improving community health. The program’s goal is to increase access to healthier foods and opportunities for safe and affordable physical activity by empowering people to lead the charge in their communities.

According to RHIhub, ALProHealth is innovative when providing services and the impact in has on rural communities. To read the entire project summary, visit RHIhub’s website at www.ruralhealthinfo.org.

What is ALProHealth?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) implements the program through the Alabama Cooperative Extension System at Auburn University in 13 Alabama counties with high adult obesity prevalence. Currently, funded county participants include Barbour, Bullock, Conecuh, Dallas, Escambia, Greene, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Monroe, Perry, Sumter and Wilcox counties.

Goal Orientated

ALProHealth focuses on two major goals — increase access to healthier foods and safe places for physical activity.

The program partners with local food retail stores on the availability and visibility of healthy items. Additionally, local partners within ALProHealth communities work to increase cold storage capacity and processing capabilities at emergency feeding locations. This allows for more storage of fruit, vegetables and meat.

ALProHealth also leans on local coalitions, governments and partnerships to make improvements to walking and biking networks in communities. Such enhancements make it safer for physical activity while making the town more vibrant and exciting. New parks, playgrounds, walking trails and bike lanes help connect residents to everyday destinations safely.

Mitch Carter, an Alabama Extension outreach administrator, said these goals are the cornerstone of the entire program.

“Community coalitions are increasing the availability of healthy foods in their communities, where accessing affordable, quality produce can be a challenge,” Carter said. “Coalitions also have seen a lot of recent momentum in identifying activities and improvements that increase the safety of walking or biking around town, particularly for those without access to a vehicle.”

More Information

RHIhub is a national online information center on rural health issues, funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Its website includes over 18,000 resources specific to rural health. The Rural Health Models & Innovations section features hundreds of successful programs serving rural residents across the nation.

ALProHealth receives funding from the High Obesity Program from the CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity. Learn more about ALProHealth by visiting www.aces.edu or by contacting Ruth Brock, ALProHealth program manager.

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