Armstrong County joined the We Can!
movement in September, 2007 as the first We Can!
County in the United States! We Can!
stands for "Ways to Enhance Children's Activity & Nutrition." We Can!
is a national program designed for families and communities to help children maintain a healthy weight. The program focuses on three important behaviors: improved food choices, increased physical activity and reduced screen time.
Community leaders have developed a wellness program called HEALTHY Armstrong
. HEALTHY stands fur Healthy Eating, Active Lifestyles -Together Helping Youth and is a collaboration of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Health Plan, Children's Community Pediatrics-Armstrong, Armstrong Center fur Medicine and Health (ACMH) Hospital, ACMH Hospital Foundation, and the Armstrong School District.
The Healthy Armstrong initiative incorporates We Can!
into its activities to meet its goal of reducing childhood obesity in Armstrong County. Prior to the Healthy Armstrong initiative, it was estimated that 56% of adult patients were overweight or obese - approximately 25% higher than the national average of 31% according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Also, a Pennsylvania BMI survey of students aged 5-17 found that overweight Armstrong School District students exceeded 35% of the school district population as compared to a national average of 17% prior to the implementation of this program.
In addition to the after-school and weekend health activities, which incorporate physical activities, snack-making advice from a nutritionist, and additional teaching about wellness, the program leaders continue to look for new ways to promote health and wellness among school aged children. One of the newer components of the program is the "HEALTHY Recipe of the Week Campaign." According to Kay Owen, Project Director for HEALTHY Armstrong, ''The Healthy Recipe of the Week campaign helps residents make healthy food choices. It's another way we promote the We Can!
Message within Armstrong County."
The group of community leaders continue to meet on a regular basis in an effort to combat childhood obesity in Armstrong County. Check the following sites for more information on We Can!
and HEALTHY ARMSTRONG