Mount Pleasant plugs 5-2-1-0 into community-wide health efforts
Mt. Pleasant is the largest town in southeast Iowa's Henry County and has many parks, recreation trails and other amenities to serve citizens seeking an active lifestyle. The community of 8,500 people has had an eye on improving health and wellness in the region and several years ago formed the Healthy Henry County Communities coalition.
So when Mt. Pleasant was chosen to receive $18,000 from the Iowa Department of Public Health to implement community-wide strategies around the 5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count! campaign, the Southeast Iowa Regional Planning Commission went straight to the HHCC coalition for guidance.
5-2-1-0: How to get your community involved
"5-2-1-0 fit with a lot of the things they were already doing. Getting HHCC involved and doing things to create a healthier community created a positive impact," said Zach James, SEIRPC assistant director. "Their leaders helped us determine what direction to go."
HHCC connected then Mt. Pleasant to a few community organizations, including a local daycare, Head Start program, school-affiliated pre-school, REC Center and family medicine clinic.
Here are some of the 5-2-1-0 wins from Mt. Pleasant:
A new playground at the preschool
Little Panthers preschool, part of Mt. Pleasant Community Schools, had wanted to upgrade their playground equipment for several years, but did not have the budget necessary.
"It needed to get done but it wasn’t going anywhere," said James. "This grant was able to speed up the project for them."
New equipment, including a slide, rock feature and playhouse, were added to Little Panthers preschool, using funds from the 5-2-1-0 grant.
In addition, the preschool also made multiple policy changes around the 5-2-1-0 strategies, including adding healthy snack options to the Parent Handbook, limiting sugary drinks and incorporating 5-2-1-0 messaging into the parent newsletter.
Spreading the 5-2-1-0 message
Mt. Pleasant took advantage of the 5-2-1-0 resources to help market the initiative around the community, including airing 5-2-1-0 radio commercials on local stations, purchasing newspaper ads as well as utilizing free 5-2-1-0 posters, brochures and social media graphics.
"5-2-1-0 was a different way to promote healthy eating and healthy lifestyle," said James. "Lots of partners helped spread the message."
A 5-2-1-0 poster is displayed at a Mount Pleasant-area child care center. 5-2-1-0 posters, brochures and other materials are available for free. Order here.
Incorporating 5-2-1-0 into health care
Family Medicine of Mount Pleasant collaborated with Iowa Medical Society to become a 5-2-1-0 Health Care Registered Site to encourage healthy choices among their patients.
The health care clinic committed to working towards the following goals: accurately weigh and measure pediatric patients, utilize the 5-2-1-0 Healthy Habits Questionnaire during their patient visits and share 5-2-1-0 messaging.
Family Medicine of Mount Pleasant also used the 5-2-1-0 grant funds to purchase TV screens for the waiting room that will promote the 5-2-1-0 message and other health-related information and incentives.
What's next for Mt. Pleasant?
Mt. Pleasant has received another round of funding from IDPH for the current fiscal year, in addition to five more towns and one county. This year, Mt. Pleasant took a different approach in best determining how to spend the funds.
In 2018, Mt. Pleasant and HHCC worked with Healthy Hometown, powered by Wellmark, to complete a community visioning process. "We brought everyone to the table and started talking about ‘What can we do community wide?’" James said.
MORE 5-2-1-0 SUCCESS STORIES: West Union | Malvern |Dubuque
One of the projects identified in that process was creating a "sensory walk" for each of community's four elementary schools. A sensory walk is a series of physical activities placed in a school hallway that can help children calm down and regain focus. Mt. Pleasant is working with Iowa State University Extension & Outreach to design the pathway and then the Year 2 grant funds will be used to purchase and install the elements.
Mt. Pleasant by the numbers:
150 children impacted in child care
3,500 patients reached in health care
45 students reached in out-of-school programming
2,000 people reached in the community
*numbers reflect State Fiscal Year 2018