SAVINGS TIMES 2 Progress toward a healthier Arkansas

the initiative has accomplished and to plan what is next. As with any action plan, the state accomplished some of the initial goals. It exceeded some goals and is in the process of achieving others. Still, this movement is making progress. U.S. health statistics paint a dismal picture. Obesity and obesity-related diseases continue to rise. Arkansas has been at or near the top of the list for poor health for a few years. Go to the 2016 County Health Rankings (www. to see how your county is doing. Tis report is a great resource to help identify the most pressing problems in each county, which can help determine the first steps in helping residents become healthier and more active. Van Buren County is one county that is beginning to take those first steps to better health. In fact, Van Buren County Judge Roger Hooper spoke at the summit. Due to personal experience, Judge Hooper’s focus is on diabetes prevention. He said as leaders we “must hold ourselves personally accountable.” He also said we need to “get the right people on the bus and get moving.” I would love to hear what you are doing in your county to help residents improve their health. Tere are many ways to jump into the HAA initiative. Te HAA framework has nine priority areas and action steps for achieving two-, five-, and 10-year goals toward a healthier, more active Arkansas. I am honored to have had a part in writing some of the goals. Here are the nine priority areas: • Physical and built environment: encourage all stakeholders to create livable places that improve mobility, availability

T and access within community where they live, work and play.

• Nutritional standards in government, institutions and the private sector: ensure uniform access to healthy foods and beverages to consumers in government, institutional and private sector settings.

• Nutritional standards in schools — early childcare through college:

state and local

governments, early childcare providers, school districts and colleges will provide food and beverages that align with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and promote health and learning.

• Physical education and activity in schools — early childcare through college: state and local governments, early childcare providers, school districts and colleges ensure that all students have opportunities for daily physical activity and quality physical education that promotes healthy lifestyles. • Healthy worksites: worksites will establish

22 the

he Governor’s Healthy Active Arkansas (HAA) initiative is now 2 years old. I recently attended the Statewide Learning Network Accountability Summit, held to report what

healthy environments that promote good health through prevention, reduce health care costs associated with chronic illness and disability, and improve employee productivity.

• Access to healthy foods: state and local governments and other stakeholders will promote education, public policies and access to affordable healthy foods for all Arkansans.

Becky Comet AAC Member Benefits Manager

• Sugar-sweetened beverage reduction: decision makers in the business community/private sector, nongovernmental organizations, educational institutions, and at all levels of government will adopt comprehensive strategies to reduce overconsumption of sugar-sweetened beverages in worksites, public places, recreational facilities and schools.

• Breastfeeding: women, health service providers, employers, communities, and other key stakeholders will adopt, implement and monitor policies that support and increase the proportion of mothers who initiate and continue optimal breastfeeding practices.

• Marketing program: develop and implement a robust, sustained and culturally appropriate targeted communications and marketing program aimed at changing norms and behaviors with respect to physical activity and nutrition.

On a related note, congratulations to the Arkansas Circuit

Clerks Association. Te group started a “Biggest Loser” weight-loss competition in June. Te contest concluded in October. Carrie Kilgore from Crawford County was the winner. Jennifer Riggs, also from Crawford County, came in a very close second. Tose who participated in the competition lost a total of more than 187 pounds. Te best comment I heard about the whole competition was from someone who said, “I didn’t lose as much weight as I would have liked to. But the competition made me more aware of what I was eating.” Folks, that is the whole point. We have to become more aware of what we eat, increase our activity

levels, and

improve our general health. We cannot continue to take our health for granted, and then act surprised by where we end up. Please take a serious look at jumping onboard the HAA initiative in ways that will benefit your county the most. Please contact me if you are interested in getting something started — for the health of it. Call me at (501) 372-7550 or email me at


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56