Rural Community Action for Better Health

Topics: Food security, Obesity, Urban agriculture Pages: 8 (3171 words) Published: March 20, 2014

Unit 9 Project
Rural Community Action for Better Health
Suzy Student
Learning University

Professor Awesome
February 14, 2013

Rural Community Action for Better Health
The vast fields and beautiful mountains of West Virginia are hiding secrets of poverty and desperation. West Virginia has severe health problems that are curable and avoidable through proper nutrition. The majority of citizens often struggle to feed their families consistent nutritious meals. This causes an array of chronic illnesses; diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and the list goes on. How can something be done to stop this atrocious problem? Providing research based facts to create awareness about these alarming health problems is the first step. A program offering guidance on reaching optimal health in poor and rural areas will succeed by encouraging the community to work together; enlightening them to fresh food resources they have available; and educating them on healthy food choices, preparations, and long-term storage. Increasing consciousness about nutrition related health issues in the rural communities of West Virginia will provide knowledge and inspiration to take action against the current situation. West Virginia is the third highest obese state per capita in the United States; obesity causes heart disease and type 2 diabetes which can be prevented and diminished through proper nutrition (CDC, 2012). Eating healthy can be a challenge for many people. Nationwide an estimated 3.1 million rural households are food insecure, which means they lack the resources to provide their families with consistent quality meals (Feeding America, 2014). West Virginia is both rural and economically depressed; obesity, food insecurity, and poverty are closely connected in West Virginia (Amarasinghe, D’Souza, Brown, Oh, Borisova, 2009). As a result, these poverty stricken people do not have the ability to provide nutritious foods, and cheaper more accessible foods are high in fats, refined grains, and sugars (FRAC, 2011). While it is true this is the current status of West Virginia’s adversities, it does not necessarily mean there is no hope for future health resolutions. These disturbing facts can encourage positive results when rural West Virginia communities decide to take action, and use their local resources through hunting wild game and communal gardening. Ultimately, what is at stake here is the health of each individual and West Virginia as a whole. Communities getting involved in helping each other would overcome many of the obstacles they are facing. Talking to local organizations, churches, and local officials would benefit in implementing a program that brings people together optimizing the use of local fresh food resources to diminish the struggles they face. This variety of people providing additional ideas and support for a program to help out underprivileged individuals and families facilitate their nutritional needs makes the possibilities endless. Volunteers from local organizations and churches could provide creative assistance from experience in their diverse backgrounds. Using larger programs as an example such as “Let’s Move,” can show rural citizens what this program is accomplishing by solving similar issues in other areas of the United States. This example can supply a small community in West Virginia with ideas and even financial support from the Healthy Food Financing Initiative. The Healthy Food Financing Initiative provides funding to help supply underserved communities with fresh food (Let’s Move, n.d.). Since Let’s Move focuses on working together and self-reliance, it could only benefit a rural community to ask for funding on starting a program that involves communal gardening and hunting wild game to promote self-sufficiency. There are other options for funding such as local businesses, fundraisers, and donations. Great feats will be accomplished when the community...

References: Chiots, S. (Photographer). (2010). Orville community gardens sign [Photograph], Retrieved January 25, 2014, from
Feeding America
Food and Research Action Center (FRAC). (2013, December 1). Profile of hunger, poverty, and federal nutrition programs: West Virginia. Retrieved from
Froedtert and Community Memorial Hospital Dietitians
LaSure, T. (Photographer). (n.d.). Autumn in Rural West Virginia [Photograph], Retrieved January 25, 2014, from
Let 's Move
[Untitled photograph of people working in a community garden]. (2013, June 10). Community garden [Blog post]. Retrieved February 3, 2014, from
USDA (n.d.)
WVDNR Law Enforcement. (2003). West Virginia hunter education program. Retrieved from
WVDNR Wildlife Resources
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