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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

Hoonah Fun and Fit Partnership
Updated/reviewed February 2018
  • Need: Rural Alaskans are significantly more likely to be obese compared to the rest of the state.
  • Intervention: The rural community of Hoonah, AK, is creating more opportunities for participation in physical activities and community engagement through Hoonah Fun and Fit Partnership.
  • Results: Healthier school menus and various fitness options are being encouraged throughout the community. Community members have reported healthier lifestyles and higher levels of physical activity.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Win with Wellness
Updated/reviewed February 2018
  • Need: To reduce risk of obesity and chronic disease in rural northwest Illinois.
  • Intervention: Win with Wellness encourages participants in community settings and at different workplaces to make small, incremental changes to their diets and activity levels through a multi-component approach.
  • Results: Since 2015, the two participating counties have started 27 Take Off Pounds Sensibly groups with 352 participants and conducted 19 Heart-to-Heart health education sessions, reaching 348 participants.
Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative
Updated/reviewed January 2018
  • Need: Close to 70% of adults and 37% of children ages 4 and under in Northeast Iowa are overweight or obese.
  • Intervention: An initiative that provided support and access to locally-grown, healthy foods, along with promotion of active lifestyles, particularly for children.
  • Results: As of 2017, the program continues to engage communities and schools in healthy activities and food choices
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.