The Virginia Department of Health (VDH), Healthy Eating and Active Living program works to prevent and control obesity and chronic diseases by: 1) promoting healthy eating and active living; 2) fostering evidence-based strategies, systems and environmental changes which support health; 3) compiling and disseminating evidence-based and/or evidence-informed interventions which support health; and 4) developing partnerships and community led initiatives throughout Virginia. The VDH works with local health districts, community organizations, stakeholders, and local coalitions to assist Virginians in making healthy choices where they live, learn, work and play through evidence-based interventions.
In collaboration with the Virginia Department of Education, VDH funds local school divisions to implement the "Welnet" (web based application to track student's fitness levels and Body Mass Index (BMI)) and "Five for Life" evidence-based physical education curriculum for K-12 students. The school divisions funded are Bristol City, Powhatan County, Roanoke County, Frederick County, and Rockingham County Public Schools. The total number of students to be reached is approximately 32,000.
Community led Interventions:
VDH supports seven local health districts in implementing evidence-based healthy eating and active living strategies to prevent obesity in their respective communities. Funded health districts are Central Virginia, Richmond City, Virginia Beach, Peninsula, New River, Eastern Shore, and Lenowisco.
VDH supports the development of Healthy Communities. VDH is currently funding eight health districts and state agencies, including five Action Communities for Health, Innovation, and EnVironmental ChangE (ACHIEVE) communities, to implement evidence-based strategies aimed at promoting physical activity, healthful nutrition and environmental systems changes to support healthy lifestyles at their community level. Funded agencies are Arlington Department of Human Services, Central Virginia Health District, Crater Health District, Cumberland Plateau Health District, Eastern Virginia Medical School- Consortium for Infant and Child Health, Eastern Shore Healthy Communities, Lenowisco Health District, and Prince William Health District. VDH also works with community health coalitions throughout Virginia to provide technical assistance in program planning, implementation and evaluation.
Early Childcare Initiative:
The Healthy Eating and Active Living, Obesity Prevention Program conducts regional trainings throughout Virginia on NAP SACC (Nutrition and Physical Activity Self Assessment for Childcare). NAP SACC is an evidence-based self-assessment tool aimed at improving nutrition and physical activity practices and policies in the childcare setting. Certified NAP SACC consultants work with child care facility staff to set goals for change and to develop plans for follow-up actions to improve practice.
Trainings and Webinars:
VDH hosts a series of webinars on the best practices of healthy communities projects in Virginia. Topics have included: obesity prevention, workplace wellness, and support for breastfeeding mothers in the workplace. Upcoming webinars will focus on: tobacco control policies that have been successfully implemented in public spaces, workplaces, public schools, colleges and universities, and public housing; making healthy eating choices over the holiday season; and improving nutrition for children and youth during school, during after-school programs, and in the home.
VDH provides educational resources and technical assistance in the areas of: coalition-building, community health assessment, strategic planning, evaluation, and grant-writing.