Need: Population-based rates of adult vaccinations and cancer screenings are low. Delivery rates are lower still in low-income and minority communities.
Intervention: SPARC was established to develop and test new community-wide strategies to increase the delivery of clinical preventive services.
Results: Across the United States in both rural and urban communities, SPARC programs, which broaden the delivery of potentially life-saving preventive services, have been successfully launched, improving residents' health.
Need: Few older adults, particularly women and those in rural areas, participate in healthy living interventions.
Intervention: Health educators lead community-based healthy living classes, which include strength training, aerobic exercise, dietary skill building, and/or civic engagement, depending on the program.
Results: StrongPeople™ programs have been shown to improve weight, diet, physical activity, strength, cardiovascular health profile, physical function, pain, depression, and/or self-confidence in midlife and older adults.
Need: An approach to support sustained, quality delivery of evidence-based programs for youth and families in rural communities.
Intervention: PROSPER, a program delivery system, guides communities in implementing evidence-based programs that build youth competencies, improve family functioning, and prevent risky behaviors, particularly substance use.
Results: Youth in PROSPER communities reported delayed initiation of a variety of substances, lower levels of other behavioral problems, and improvements in family functioning and other life skills.
Need: Older adults in rural Iowa have inadequate access to physical activity specialists and/or exercise facilities, which limits their ability to remain sufficiently active.
Intervention: Iowa State University implemented an intergenerational "exergaming" program to encourage fun and safe physical fitness among rural older adults.
Results: Pilot studies showed that older adults demonstrated increases in strength, flexibility, activity levels, and confidence in their ability to be physically active. Younger adults experienced reduced ageism and increased knowledge and expectations of aging.
Need: In rural eastern North Carolina, Lenoir County residents experience significantly higher rates of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and obesity rates compared to other parts of the state and nation.
Intervention: A community-based research project was designed to develop and test better ways to tackle cardiovascular disease, from prevention to treatment.
Results: The end goal includes the development of long-lasting strategies and approaches within the community to help decrease the risk and disparities in risk of cardiovascular disease.
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.