(07/27/20) BATON ROUGE, La. — The LSU AgCenter Healthy Communities research team is conducting a community survey to learn about nutrition and physical activity needs in three rural communities in Louisiana.
The purpose of the survey is to guide future community-based projects, address local and state policies, and further the understanding of health challenges faced by small rural communities.
The research team will conduct the survey in Greensburg, St. Joseph and Lake Providence. Eligible households will be randomly selected to participate. Households that complete the survey will receive a Healthy Communities “swag bag” for their participation.
Selected households will get a postcard in the mail in August with instructions on how to complete an online survey. Healthy Communities researchers and program leaders will also make door-to-door visits this fall to reach those who aren’t able to take the survey online.
“We are targeting rural communities that experience poverty and obesity rates that are greater than the state average,” said Katherine Seals, LSU AgCenter Healthy Communities research associate. “All priority populations are majority African American, with Greensburg being the only community to have an even Caucasian to African American race distribution.”
The LSU AgCenter Healthy Communities initiative began in 2018 with a five-year cooperative agreement between the AgCenter and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The initiative seeks partnerships with schools, elected officials, community members, faith-based organizations and community stakeholders to improve obesity rates and quality of life among residents.
Healthy Communities addresses the nutrition and physical activity environments in six rural parishes in Louisiana with an obesity rate over 40%. These parishes include St. Helena, Tensas, East Carroll, Assumption, Madison and Morehouse.
Each parish has a coalition made up of community members and partners who are familiar with the challenges the community faces. Coalitions meet regularly to make actionable plans to address those challenges.
“We’re looking forward to using the results of this study to build on the work that is already being done by our Healthy Communities coalition,” said Marquetta Anderson, LSU AgCenter extension agent for St. Helena Parish. “Through this research, we hope to extend the success of our projects like the St. Helena Farmers Market.”
The St. Helena Farmers Market, which is one of the coalition’s largest projects, recently launched a program that offers $3 in free tokens for every $1 spent on eligible foods using SNAP/EBT benefits.
To learn more about this community survey, contact Seals at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fresh tomatoes at the St. Helena Farmers Market in Greensburg, Louisiana. Photo by Marquetta Anderson/LSU AgCenter