UACES Facebook Feb. 25 kickoff planned for project to help cut obesity in St. Francis County
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Feb. 25 kickoff planned for project to help cut obesity in St. Francis County

ByMary Hightower
U of A System Division of Agriculture 

FastFacts

  • Arkansas Delta Region Obesity Project sets Feb. 25 kickoff in Forrest City
  • Meeting to be held at Forrest City Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Public encouraged to attend, help set priorities for health improvement project.

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JONESBORO, Ark. – The walk to a healthier St. Francis County will take its first step on Feb. 25 during an organizational meeting of the Arkansas Delta Region Obesity Project, or ArDROP.

“The ArDROP initiative has grown out of a cooperative agreement with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to address obesity rates in five Arkansas counties: Mississippi, St. Francis, Lee, Phillips, and Chicot,” said Jessica Vincent, extension health and wellness coordinator for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. 

Vincent said the CDC selected these counties because they all have adult obesity rates of more than 40 percent. The project is meant to improve health and quality of life, she said. 

The Feb. 25 meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. at the Forrest City Area Chamber of Commerce building, 203 N. Izard.

Tyler Brown, a regional program associate for obesity reduction, based in Jonesboro, said the meeting will include a project overview as well as a review of previous project successes in other counties. Then, participants will roll up their sleeves.

“This is where we start to talk strategy,” Brown said. “We want the community members to tell us what they want to do and what they want to see for short-, mid- and long-term goals. This is where we’ll get in to prioritizing the work to be done.”

ArDROP focuses on increasing access to healthy food and physical activity opportunities. It’s a communitywide effort with the support of local governments and the Cooperative Extension Service. 

“Some of the previous successes include organizing farmers markets to make healthy, fresh produce more easily available – which we’ve seen in McCrory,” Brown said. “Another project we’re considering is mobile food distribution – a food pantry on wheels.”

Other enhancements include adding sidewalks and bike lanes to encourage exercise and enable people to get where they need to go. 

The ArDROP work with CDC continues through September 2023.

 

AbouttheDivisionofAgriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system. 

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses. 

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your county extension office as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126
mhightower@uaex.edu

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