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Rural Project Examples: Obesity and weight control

Evidence-Based Examples

Project ECHO® – Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes
Updated/reviewed July 2017
  • Need: To increase the capacity for more effective treatment of chronic, complex conditions in rural and underserved communities.
  • Intervention: Through a specially-designed project, remote primary care providers work with academic specialists as a team to manage chronic conditions of rural patients, expanding remote providers’ knowledge base through shared case studies.
  • Results: Patient management and care provided by rural providers through ongoing education and mentoring from Project ECHO® has proved as effective as treatment provided by specialists at a university medical center.

Effective Examples

HEALTH-COP Obesity Prevention
Updated/reviewed August 2017
  • Need: Many physicians want to help rural children who are overweight or obese develop healthy lifestyles, and these physicians would benefit from receiving training on specific ways to instruct, motivate, and manage the healthcare of these children.
  • Intervention: A virtual learning network called Healthy Eating Active Living TeleHealth Community of Practice (HEALTH-COP) was created to educate rural physicians and provide peer support.
  • Results: Studies showed an increase in health and wellness topics covered by physicians during children's clinic visits. This likely contributed to healthier eating habits and more active lifestyles that were found when these children were reassessed 3 months later.

Promising Examples

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Trinity Hospital Twin City's Fit for Life
Updated/reviewed November 2017
  • Need: To reduce obesity among adults in rural east central Ohio.
  • Intervention: Fit for Life Replication Project for Expansion was developed to make it possible to lose weight through practicing healthier lifestyle behaviors.
  • Results: Out of the 443 adults who have completed the program, 81% experienced weight loss, a tangible result of the program's overarching goal to enhance levels of health and fitness.
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

Diabetes and Heart Disease Intervention Program
Added December 2017
  • Need: To reduce patients' risk of diabetes and heart disease in rural southwest Mississippi.
  • Intervention: A program based on the CDC's National Diabetes Prevention Program helps participants with cardiometabolic syndrome reduce at least 7% of their body weight and normalize blood pressure and glucose through lifestyle modifications.
  • Results: In 2016, 22 program graduates lost a total of 300 pounds. As of November 2017, this year's 50 participants collectively have lost over 500 pounds and reduced blood pressure levels.
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.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Healthy Families
Updated/reviewed November 2017
  • Need: High obesity rates among preschool children are a public health concern.
  • Intervention: The Healthy Families program was created to provide school-based obesity prevention and intervention in preschools throughout three Michigan counties.
  • Results: Healthy Families provided education on nutrition and physical fitness to hundreds of preschool children and their families, helping children maintain or improve their BMI and instill lifelong healthy habits.