"Making the Healthy Choice the
In his 2001 Call to Action, former Surgeon General of the US, David Satcher, stated, "Individual behavior change can only occur in a supportive environment with accessible and affordable healthy food choices and opportunities for regular physical activity." It is not enough to have places to be physically active and healthful foods; individuals must have access to them. The failure of individual-based nutrition and physical activity efforts can be explained, in part, by the fact that the environments where they have been implemented are not hospitable to healthful choices.
The Utah Department of Health PANO Program and partners statewide aim to address barriers through changes in policies and environments where healthy foods and opportunities for physical activity are offered. You can see the areas and objectives where we are working with our partners by reviewing our Utah Nutrition and Physical Activity Plan.
To engage public and private partners in promoting healthy behaviors including regular physical activity and good nutrition by developing supportive environments to improve health and quality of life for people of Utah. We influence change within schools, worksites, communities, and healthcare settings.
We also engage the media and government to promote programs and policies that will impact obesity rates.
The goal of the UDOH PANO Program is to prevent and control obesity and other chronic diseases through healthful eating and physical activity. This goal will be achieved through strategic public health efforts aimed at the following objectives:
- Decrease prevalence of obesity
- Increase physical activity
- Improve dietary behaviors related to obesity and chronic diseases
Increase the number, reach, and quality of policies and standards set in place to support healthful eating and physical activity in various settings. Increase access to healthy food and places for physical activity and support healthful eating and physical activity in various settings. Increase the number, reach, and quality of social and behavioral approaches that complement policy and environmental strategies to promote healthful eating and physical activity. The UDOH PANO Program is funded through a cooperative agreement with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The program initially received funding in 2008. Program activities include developing and coordinating state and local partnerships to implement obesity prevention activities; developing and implementing a state strategic plan for nutrition, physical activity, and obesity; and enhance the ability to monitor trends in obesity and associated risk factors. Based on a scientific review, the CDC has identified six priority areas on which funded states focus their efforts. The behavioral areas the Utah PANO Program targets include: 1) Increasing physical activity, 2) Increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables, 3) Increasing breastfeeding, initiation and duration, 4) Decreasing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, 5) Reducing consumption of high-energy-dense foods, and 6) Decreasing television viewing.
Behavior change efforts are most effective when they are implemented on multiple levels. Using the Social-ecological model, changes are targeted to all levels (societal, community, organizational, interpersonal, and individual). The program draws on lessons learned from previous attempts to address public health problems caused by societal forces. Based on these lessons learned, the following programmatic approaches are taken:
- Identifying a "crisis".
- Basing program strategies on sound science and a wide range of disciplines.
- Developing a coalition to strengthen and move nutrition and physical activity efforts forward.
- Using policy and environmental changes as the key to initiating and sustaining systemic changes.