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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 2019
  • 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.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Trinity Hospital Twin City's Fit for Life
Updated/reviewed November 2018
  • 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.

Promising Examples

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Youth4Health
Updated/reviewed December 2019
  • 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 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.

Other Project Examples

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Win With Wellness
Updated/reviewed June 2020
  • Need: To reduce risk of obesity and chronic disease in rural northwest Illinois.
  • Intervention: Win With Wellness (WWW) collaborates with community organizations and worksites to improve physical activity and eating behaviors and reduce weight among adults using a multi-component approach.
  • Results: From 2015 to 2018, the two participating counties initiated 28 Take Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS) groups with 367 participants. In the second round of funding, WWW recruited 183 participants for 9 TOPS groups and 8 community Heart-to-Heart sites.
Be Well Barron County
Updated/reviewed December 2019
  • 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.
Diabetes and Heart Disease Intervention Program
Updated/reviewed December 2019
  • Need: To reduce patients' risk of diabetes and heart disease in rural southwest Mississippi.
  • Intervention: 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 2018, participants who completed the program lost a combined 547 pounds, and 65% of these participants reduced their blood pressure.
Kūlana Hawai'i Weight Management Program
Updated/reviewed May 2019
  • Need: To improve the health status and overall well-being of Native Hawaiians and other medically underserved populations in rural areas of Hawaii.
  • Intervention: A comprehensive weight management program is led by an integrated team of health professionals who work with participants on making sustainable, lifelong changes.
  • Results: Patients reported statistically significant reductions in weight, BMI, blood pressure, and chronic disease and pain, along with increased physical activity and health knowledge.