Numerous University of Iowa College of Public Health researchers and programs are leading efforts to address rising rates of obesity throughout society. Among the Iowa obesity initiatives:
- Prevention Research Center. Active Ottumwa is a core research project of the University of Iowa Prevention Research Center, one of 26 such centers funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Active Ottumwa is a community-based research project that encourages all adults to be more active. The partnership engages volunteer community members who are trained to be Physical Activity Leaders to guide and support adults to be more physically active. This video highlights the goals of Active Ottumwa
- Healthier Workforce Center of the Midwest. The center, one of six Total Worker Health Centers of Excellence funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, recently highlighted connections between unhealthy eating habits and higher body mass index (BMI). Evidence shows that as a worker’s BMI increases, so do short-term absences, ability to perform on the job, and healthcare costs. A Healthier Workforce Center video on Nutrition in the Workplace provides information for employers seeking to encourage healthy nutrition choices as part of a Total Worker Health approach to worker safety and health.
- Research examines link between obesity, food container chemical substitutes. A recent study from University of Iowa College of Public Health researchers shows that a pair of common chemicals that manufacturers use to make plastic food containers, water bottles, and other consumer products do not contribute to obesity to the extent of the chemical it’s replacing.
- Business Leadership Network Community Grant Program. This small grant program supports projects, programs, and activities that build the college’s collaborations with local communities and supports community well-being initiatives. Among the 2018 grant recipients are three that promote healthy lifestyles and enhanced nutrition:
- Cass County Memorial Hospital in Atlantic, Iowa
The “Walk Cass County” project will expand and encourage walking as a way to connect families and friends while gaining health benefits. Funding will provide walking maps with routes of varying lengths in each of the county’s eight cities to help residents become more active.
- Muscatine Center for Social Action in Muscatine, Iowa
The “Rapid Rehousing Food Stability Program” project introduces and supports healthy nutritional behaviors and enables better food choices for families living in poverty. Families receive a healthy food delivery on the last week of their SNAP calendar month, a week they typically experience a food shortage. The program provides each family with a crock pot, healthy snacks, food for one crock pot meal, and recipes made with affordable ingredients.
- Northeast Iowa Area Agency on Aging in Waterloo, Iowa
The “Senior Freezer Meal Prep and Cooking“ project aims to improve nutritional quality and increase consumption of protein, vegetables, and high quality grains. Meal prep occurs in a group setting to foster social interactions that help combat loneliness and isolation.