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PRC Project Description

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Health Promotion Program for Residents of Iowa


Host Institution
University of Iowa: Prevention Research Center for Rural Health

Health Topics
Community health | Nutrition

Researchers are testing a nutrition and physical activity program among 700 residents of Iowa’s rural Keokuk County. The goal is to help residents eat more fruits and vegetables, eat fewer high-fat foods, and increase physical activity, thereby reducing overall body fat. The project, which involves the entire community—store owners; leaders from local churches, libraries, high schools, parks and recreation services; and the Iowa Department of Public Health—includes a wide range of activities. Trained community health advisors counsel participants about individual exercise plans, healthy eating habits, and setting realistic goals. To support healthy food choices, project staff are helping create a food co-operative, encouraging store owners to sell fruits and vegetables at lower costs, providing home delivery of nutritious foods, and teaching residents to conduct healthy cooking demonstrations for their neighbors. To increase physical activity, 34 county churches are offering step aerobics classes led by trained volunteers, county officials are working to create or upgrade walking trails and to allow adults to use high school running tracks for leisure-time walking, and all six county libraries are loaning pedometers to residents for tracking progress. Local media and libraries will participate as well, by conveying health information and promoting community events such as fun walks.
Research Setting
County/Parish | Place of worship | Rural area
Race or Ethnicity
No specific focus
No specific focus
Age Group
Adults (25-49 years)
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Principal Investigator
John B Lowe

Project Identifier
Core Project (1998-2004)

Funding Source
PRC Program

Project Status
Not active