Where Do I Start? A resource for the new health programmer.

In a previous post we shared a public service announcement that featured famed cosmologist, Stephen Hawking, expressing his concerns on the growing obesity epidemic. Hawking suggests that as a whole people need to move more and eat less. While this is a powerful and motivational video the question of implementation was still left open to consideration. How do we encourage people to eat less and move more? Many people think that they need to radically change their lifestyle in order to attain significant benefits. This concept of radically changing their lifestyle often discourages individuals from pursuing healthier lifestyles.

For those of us connected to organizations, such as the National Recreation Foundation, we have access to a supportive, influential, and encouraging community to assist in delivering health changes. Many large programs, which focus on encouraging physical activity and healthy eating among their participants, are run by teams of experts in the field of community health or professional public health initiative developers. While we are grateful and celebrate the work of these programs and their administrators, what about small programs that are just starting or individuals who are looking to make an impact in terms of the health of their communities? Even if individuals have no prior experience in the area of physical activity outcomes there are a multitude of resources available, which offer ideas, forums, literature, networking platforms, etc. to assist these young programs. The CDC in particular offers several excellent resources.

The CDC Guide to Strategies to Increase Physical Activity in the Community is an excellent publication from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that according to the guide document, “provides guidance for program managers, policy makers, and others on how to select strategies to increase physical activity in the community.” The guide offers ten strategies to improve health outcomes for communities. Strategies include community wide programs, point of decision prompts, enhancing school-based physical education, urban design and land use policies, and active transport to schools. In addition the guide provides rationale for each strategy, evidence of effectiveness, key considerations, next steps, example programs, and a list of additional resources. This is a wonderful resource for the new or evolving community health programmer.

A link to a PDF of the guide is copied below:

Click to access PA_2011_WEB.pdf

SOS Outreach Wins Gatorade’s For the Love of Sports Contest

One of our grantee organizations, SOS Outreach, successfully obtained funding from a contest titled, For the Love of Sports, organized by the Gatorade Company. The following is an excerpt from the press release by Rebecca Gould, Media Contact for SOS Outreach:

“On Wednesday, November 30th, local nonprofit SOS Outreach outvoted the competition and secured the top prize of $50,000 from Gatorade’s For the Love of Sports contest! The voting campaign, featuring Gatorade’s sponsored athletes Usain Bolt, Elena Delle Donne, Paul George, April Ross and Serena Williams, brought a total of fourteen national nonprofits together to compete in four rounds of voting, with each round’s winner receiving a $50,000 donation. SOS Outreach won the final round of voting by receiving 49% of total votes received during the six-week open voting period. Competing nonprofits included Disabled Sports USA and Girls in the Game… SOS is grateful for the incredible support of all members of the SOS family who worked tirelessly to get this victory. With this donation, the organization looks forward to providing more opportunities for underserved youth in the outdoors while fueling the love of sports mission.”


Founded in Vail, Colorado in 1993, SOS Outreach inspires youth to make positive decisions for healthy and successful lives. They attain this mission by introducing underserved youth to adventure sports like skiing, snowboarding, rock climbing, mountain biking, and backing. The program delivers long-term life skill development to youth through progressive outdoor programs, in return providing value to the communities where the programs operate.

According to Seth Ehrlich, Executive Director of SOS Outreach, “the funds from Gatorade will be directed to both bolster existing programs and provide support for the organization to expand regions. We will be using the funds to launch a pilot program in Detroit and more than double outreach of programs in Salt Lake City. In addition, we are on pace for our largest year yet for winter programming in existing locations.” SOS outreach currently programs on 31 mountain resorts throughout the West including locations in Colorado, California, and Washington states. The program serves over 5,000 youth annually.