-In Wood County, 19 new gardens have been created at childcare centers serving 1,800 children. The gardens support early learning about healthy eating and increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables.
-More than 200 second-through fourth-grade students at 10 Wood County elementary schools participated in Fit-tastic, an eight-week afterschool program that helped them develop healthier eating and physical-activity habits.
Wood County, Wisconsin, is tackling obesity throughout the community, which is home to 77,123 residents. In Wood County, the combined adult overweight and obesity rate is 64.4% and 34% of third-graders are overweight or obese. Poor diet is an established risk factor for obesity. Only 31% of Wood County ZIP codes have grocery stores or farmers’ markets and less than 25% of county adults consume the recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables.
Community changes will help build a healthier Wood County and create a more satisfying place to live, work and play. Healthy food and beverage options will be available in school cafeterias, restaurants and vending machines. Children will make better-informed decisions about their health through increased access to physical activity and nutritional foods in schools and afterschool programs. Community gardens, childcare center gardens, EBT access at farmers markets and farm-to-school programs will increase the availability of fresh, local, nutritious foods. Physical activity and healthy eating will be integrated into the daily lives of Wood County residents.
If healthy options are not available, then healthy decisions are not possible. From promoting new trails and paths to encourage active transportation to offering healthier foods and beverages in schools and communities, the availability of healthier choices can change behaviors and help reduce chronic diseases. Wood County is taking action to:
-Encourage local restaurants to offer healthy options and label menus with nutrition information.
-Serve locally grown, fresh produce in school cafeterias through Farm-to-School initiatives.
-Integrate nutrition-and physical-activity-based curricula into the classroom as part of an effort to encourage students to try nutritious foods in cafeterias and at home and to increase physical-activity levels.
-Increase healthy options available in vending machines at schools and work sites.
(The list above is a sample of all activities to be completed by the community.)
The leadership team includes high-level community leaders from multiple sectors who have the resources and capacity, when combined, to make healthy choices easier. The members of the Wood County’s leadership team are key agents for change in their community. The leadership team includes representatives from the following organizations.
-Office of the Mayor, Marshfield
-Office of the Mayor, Wisconsin Rapids
-Auburndale School District
-Heart of Wisconsin Business Alliance
-Marshfield Area Community Foundation
-Marshfield area YMCA
-Marshfield Clinic Center for Community Outreach
-Marshfield School District
-Nekoosa School District
-Pittsville School District
-Port Edwards School District
-Security Health Plan
-South Wood County YMCA
-University of Wisconsin Extension
-University of Wisconsin Stevens Point
-Wisconsin Rapids Public Schools
-Wisconsin Restaurant Association
-Wood County Health Department