Health Department posts nutrition and exercise survey

Friday, August 27, 2010 | 5:31 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Workplaces are attracting the attention of the Health Department. 

Health Department spokeswoman Linda Cooperstock said early results of an ongoing survey about nutrition and exercise indicates Boone County residents are more willing to make changes in activity levels if they receive health messages at their work places. 

“That’s one of the places that looks like it’s going to be a place where it would be beneficial to improve some programs or provide some health services,” Cooperstock said.

In an attempt to improve services, the Public Health and Human Services Department has posted an online survey about where residents are getting information about nutrition and exercise.  The survey asks questions such as, “In the past year, have you heard messages about eating healthy foods to improve your health?”  It also asks readers where they heard such messages.   

The survey, which was first posted in early June, will run through Oct. 15. Results will be posted in some form on the health department’s website.

"As of today, there are almost 400 respondents," Cooperstock said on Friday. "We're hoping for as large a number as possible to make findings more significant."

The survey asks readers if they are aware of 15 community programs such as the Walking School Bus; GetAbout Columbia; Bike, Wheel and Walk Week; and the Healthy Start curriculum for day care centers.  The survey asks if those programs have improved the community and if they have influenced awareness of exercise and healthy eating. 

Other questions include how likely participants are to take part in healthy eating programs and programs about physical activity.  There is an additional box for comments. 

The Health Department offered a similar survey about a year and a half ago interviewing students and parents, Cooperstock said.  Information gathered in the ongoing survey will be combined withe the findings of last year’s survey, she said.

The Missouri Foundation for Health funded the survey as part of a grant and has funded other obesity-preventing activities in Boone County since 2005.  Amy Stringer Hessel, a program officer for the foundation, said Columbia has been recognized as a leader that trains other communities in how to be healthier.

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Linda Cooperstock August 30, 2010 | 8:26 a.m.

This is a grea article! Everyone, click on the "ONGOING SURVEY" link in the first paragraph and take the survey. Sign up for the free gift card!

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