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Rural Project Examples: Food security and nutrition

Effective Examples

Rural Restaurant Healthy Options Program
Updated/reviewed October 2017
  • Need: Obesity has become a widespread health epidemic in the United States, especially in rural areas. Due to small profit margins and the fear of customer loss, small owner-operated rural restaurants are hesitant to make health-conscious changes to their menus.
  • Intervention: The Healthy Options Program offered an economical and low-maintenance program for owner-operated restaurants in Iowa to increase awareness of already existing healthy menu options and substitutions.
  • Results: Restaurants received positive community feedback and experienced no financial loss. Customers noticed and appreciated the healthy option reminders, and ordering behavior was impacted in a healthy way.
Hidalgo Medical Services – Family Support Program
Updated/reviewed June 2017
  • Need: To reduce health disparities in two rural/frontier counties in southwest New Mexico.
  • Intervention: Community health workers work with clients to help them better manage their health and promote awareness of healthy lifestyle options in the community.
  • Results: Better health outcomes for patients.

Promising Examples

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Youth4Health
Updated/reviewed September 2017
  • Need: To educate youth about obesity and healthy lifestyle choices.
  • Intervention: An educational program about healthy living was implemented in Lincoln and Claiborne Parishes in Louisiana for youth ages 9-18.
  • Results: Youth4Health program produced greater awareness and participation in healthier lifestyles by target youth and their families, as well as church congregations.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Healthy Early Learning Project (HELP)
Updated/reviewed May 2017
  • Need: An ongoing health need to alleviate early childhood obesity in the rural Kansas counties of Marshall and Nemaha.
  • Intervention: 5 distinct physical and nutritional programs were introduced to 9 preschool sites through the overarching Healthy Early Learning Project (HELP).
  • Results: HELP comprehensively increased children's physical activity and healthy food consumption and established a sustainable presence at each preschool site.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Coast to Cascade Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH) Program
Updated/reviewed November 2016
  • Need: To build up physical activity and healthy eating practices in order to reduce childhood obesity in rural Oregon communities.
  • Intervention: A national program was applied on a local level to provide physical activity and nutrition education in a school setting.
  • Results: The physical activity rate surpassed the Department of Health and Human Services recommended rate by 5%, and schools started serving healthier options in their cafeterias.

Other Project Examples

Be Well Barron County
Updated/reviewed November 2017
  • Need: A 2013 Barron County survey revealed 77% of adult males and 59% of adult females were overweight or obese, and that 23% of its students were obese.
  • Intervention: Be Well Barron County was created in association with the Medical College of Wisconsin to promote healthy eating and physical activity throughout this rural community in the areas of education, worksite wellness, healthcare initiatives, and community outreach.
  • Results: Success was due to academic engagement and community-wide participation by schools, worksites, and local restaurants.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy CATCH-UP (Coordinated Approach to Child Health in the Upper Peninsula)
Updated/reviewed November 2017
  • Need: To reduce childhood obesity and risk for chronic illness for youth aged 5-12 in the rural Western Upper Peninsula region of Michigan.
  • Intervention: Integrated the evidence-based CATCH program to increase physical activity and healthy eating habits in children.
  • Results: Created a healthy school environment in 12 districts promoting daily physical activity, good nutritional choices, and supportive communities for more than 3,000 children.
Farm Fresh Rhode Island Food Hub
Updated/reviewed October 2017
  • Need: To strengthen the local food system by assisting farmers, supporting rural economies and promoting access to fresh food for underserved families.
  • Intervention: Financial partnership and targeted programs created to strengthen infrastructure and connect rural food producers to a larger, local market.
  • Results: Sales have increased for local farmers and food producers, and low-income family participants increased their consumption of fruits and vegetables.
Rural Resources Diner’s Choice Program
Updated/reviewed October 2017
  • Need: Many older adults are lacking proper nutrition because of an inability to prepare food, lack of financial resources, depression due to social isolation, or general frailty associated with aging.
  • Intervention: The Diner's Choice meal program provides 12 coupons each month to older adults for local restaurants in two rural counties in Washington.
  • Results: Older adults in Pend Oreille and Stevens counties in Washington receive much-needed nutrition and social interaction, leading to healthier lives.
Lunch Express Summer Food Program
Added August 2017
  • Need: With school lunch programs inactive during summer months, rural children in Northeast Tennessee experienced food insecurity.
  • Intervention: Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee used repurposed school buses to expand meal delivery to rural children in remote areas of eight counties.
  • Results: During summer months, four converted school buses bring meals to nearly 350 children, traveling 11,000 miles in rural and remote areas.