Program looks to improve county health
By Tony Farkas
GROVETON — Trinity County has been chosen as a site for a program designed to improve the health of residents, and participants can earn a little cash for their efforts.
Deborah Alvarenga, Health Agent with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension for Trinity and Polk counties, said the Change Club Project will be in four separate areas of state, one of which is Trinity County.
She said she hopes to have a group in both Trinity and Groveton.
“We’re looking for people to enroll in the club, which is designed to help improve the health of the people involved as well as the community at large,” she said. “This will consist of 12-15 people in each town; they will go through educational meetings where members will learn about food, nutrition, diet and exercise, and after that, then there will be meetings about community planning, assessing the environment to see what could be done to improve the health.”
Following that, the group will undertake a project of their choosing, and they will be given up to $5,000 toward that. Projects include creating community gardens, creating a walking trail, a fun and fitness area for children and adults, or even improving school lunches or lobbying for longer recesses. Other groups have created a nutrition awareness program to promote healthy eating.
While the county isn’t quite on the brink, according to an AgriLife health assessment on the county, there are certain areas in Trinity that made it a better candidate for the program, such as 23 percent of the population of the county reported being in fair or poor health.
Additionally, 25 percent of the people are classified as obese and 26 percent are physically inactive. Moreover, the county shows higher than average percentages in areas such as diabetes prevalence as well as cardiovascular and premature deaths.
Alvarenga said they would like to get started soon, and hopes that people will register to be part of the program.
Registrants will be asked to fill out a health questionnaire, and then will be asked to track their steps for 7 days and keep a food diary. A pedometer will be provided if the participant does not have one.
he project is scheduled to last three years, and has several benchmarks. Each participant will be compensated for completing certain areas of the project. For full participation for the three years, registrants could earn up to $450.
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