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A local organization is looking into just how healthy its community is and can become. KSMU's Kristian Kriner reports.
The Ozarks Regional YMCA is one of eight nation-wide YMCAs chosen to test a new tool called the Community Healthy Living Index.
The Community Healthy Living Index is a survey designed to evaluate the physical activity and healthy eating habits of schools, after school programs and community groups.
Ashley Dewitt, Senior Branch Executive for the downtown YMCA, says this tool is a way to find out if the community needs a healthy lifestyle change.
"What this tool does is it takes a group of volunteers in a YMCA community, takes that group out and they really try to gather an index of really where that community is at as far as commitment to healthy lifestyles and what programs they have to offer. And this program is a pilot study that we are testing a tool to see if this will get us the information we need to truly make a change find out where this community is at. Figure out what we need to do to change it and ultimately find out what those results are going to be," Dewitt said.
Dewitt says this survey will assess the physical activity in local schools and try to encourage the schools to include more fruits, vegetables, and whole grain foods into the childrens' diets.
Julie Eaton, Marketing Director for the downtown YMCA, says this survey will help communities come up with a solution to create a healthy lifestyle for children.
"These communities are really coming together to say okay this is an issue, the health of our kids is important what are we going to do to get a solution. And so they are coming together with this idea and with this survey to find out where we are now and where we want to be in the future," Eaton said.
Dewitt says this tool will be used to stop obesity in children and families and make the overall community healthier.
The Community Healthy Living Index will be available to all YMCAs and their communities in July 2008.
For KSMU News, I'm Kristian Kriner.