"MISSISSIPPI IN MOTION" AND "FAMILIES FOOD AND FITNESS COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE" VIRTUAL EDUCATION SITE: IMPROVING THE HEALTH OF AMERICANS
Mississippi State University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN10 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Conference name: 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-7 July, 2010
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:"Mississippi In Motion" (MIM) is a research based, peer-reviewed curriculum for a community based, 12- week lifestyle program designed to promote healthy eating and to encourage positive physical activity behaviors for adults 18 years and older. The program is based on two health promotion theories, self-efficacy and social support to help bring about behavior change. In January 2007, Governor Haley Barbour endorsed "Mississippi In Motion," through the Governor's Council on Physical Fitness. Health fairs in collaboration with local hospitals, kick-off the 12-week program, in addition, participants' BMI are calculated for the pre-test and for the post-test at the end of the twelve week educational sessions. This past year (2009-2010), we have secured additional funding ($480,000) to provide MIM in 18 Mississippi Delta counties and 10 elementary and middle schools through the Bower Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Mississippi State University Extension Service.
The overall program goals and objectives for participants are to 1) Improve diets: Participants are encouraged to eat 5-9 serving sizes of fruits and vegetables a day to follow the USDA MyPyramid guidelines; 2) Increase physical activity: Participants are asked to participate in 30 minutes of some type of physical activity on a daily basis (5 days a week) unless their doctor indicates otherwise; we are including the "2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans;" 3) Maintain body weight in a healthy range and avoid excess weight gain: Participants are encouraged to follow healthy nutrition practices and physical activity for life, and 4) Participants are encouraged to attend, 7 out of 10 educational sessions to help them meet these objectives and to view materials each week on the "Families, Food, and Fitness eXtension site. Evaluation results show from pre to post test that individuals have a significant decrease (p<.001) in BMI, Wt., cholesterol, glucose, and blood pressure and significant increase in their fruit and vegetable intake, their physical activity levels, and their water intake.
At the time MS In Motion was piloted 4 years ago, and then implemented in parts of the state, the Families Food and Fitness virtual site was not available to MS families or to anyone else in the country. This is an opportunity for states, to use the eXtension site to reinforce their face-to-face communication and to refer people to this new technology, much like universities using on-line classes for some of their subject matter and for obtaining degrees. If for instance teachers/staff/parents aren't able to attend face- to- face sessions we can perhaps record if they are going to the eXtension site to obtain information. For short- term changes for the web-site we included: a) increased interest in healthful eating and physical activity to reinforce maintaining body weight in a healthy range as well as preventing excess weight gain; b) Increased knowledge of what constitutes healthful eating and physical activity; and c) Increased knowledge of how to maintain body weight in a healthy range and prevent excess weight gain. We have added to the web-site both Facebook ( with over 353 Facebook fans) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/FFFCoP and over 350 twitter fans, listed 14 times ) , to use social media in supporting individuals in their behavior changes and provide them with new and current information daily.
Keywords: healthy eating, physical activity, virtual education site, social media.