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Rural Project Examples: Food security and nutrition

Effective Examples

Rural Restaurant Healthy Options Program
Updated/reviewed September 2019
  • Need: Obesity is a widespread epidemic in the United States, especially in rural areas. Due to small profit margins and fear of losing customers, small owner-operated rural restaurants hesitate 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 feedback and experienced no financial loss. Customers noticed and appreciated the healthy option reminders, and ordering behavior improved.
Hidalgo Medical Services – Family Support Program
Updated/reviewed June 2019
  • 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 Healthy Early Learning Project (HELP)
Updated/reviewed May 2019
  • 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 From CATCH to C.H.E.F.
Updated/reviewed January 2019
  • Need: To help children and families in Lincoln, rural Benton, and east Linn counties achieve higher-quality lives free of preventable diseases related to poor nutrition and obesity.
  • Intervention: Two programs were applied on a local level to provide physical activity, nutrition, and culinary education in a school and community 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.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Youth4Health
Updated/reviewed September 2018
  • 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.

Other Project Examples

Rural Resources Diner's Choice Program
Updated/reviewed September 2019
  • Need: Many older adults are lacking proper nutrition, due to 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 receive much-needed nutrition and social interaction, leading to healthier lives.
Grow Your Health
Updated/reviewed June 2019
  • Need: To reduce rates of chronic disease in Appalachian Ohio by increasing fruit and vegetable intake.
  • Intervention: Ohio State University Extension-Vinton County established a community garden, container gardens, and classes to provide residents with fresh produce and healthy cooking/canning techniques.
  • Results: The number of gardeners has increased in Vinton County, providing residents with healthier food.
South Dakota Harvest of the Month Program
Updated/reviewed June 2019
  • Need: To encourage children to make healthy eating choices through learning and tasting.
  • Intervention: Brief, fun, and informative presentations for children on over 42 different fruits and vegetables.
  • Results: Participants are exposed to new foods and show more interest in healthy eating.
Lunch Express Summer Food Program
Updated/reviewed January 2019
  • 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.
Mother's Milk Bank of South Carolina
Updated/reviewed January 2019
  • Need: Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) across the state of South Carolina were purchasing breast milk from out-of-state milk banks for preterm infants.
  • Intervention: The Mother's Milk Bank of South Carolina (MMBSC) opened 17 sites in South Carolina for breast milk to be donated, safely pasteurized, and delivered to NICUs across the state.
  • Results: Over 260,000 ounces of milk have been donated to MMBSC depot sites and over 186,000 ounces of milk have been delivered to South Carolina NICUs.