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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Healthy Communities Program
4770 Buford Highway, N.E., Mailstop K-93
Atlanta, GA 30341-3717

Telephone: (770) 488-6452
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Posted May 15, 2007

Topics in this newsletter:

Steps CAP Workshop and Action Institute (June 4–6)....... Agenda, Abstracts, and Heroes


This year’s annual Cooperative Agreement Program Workshop and Action Institute, to be held in Seattle, Washington, will focus on training in the areas of “Environmental, Policy, and Organizational/Systems Change” and “Sustainability.” A tentative schedule of all workshops and meetings for the 2 ˝ -day  event is available on the Steps Program Web site. Workshop sessions include the following topics:

  • Communicating with Decision Makers About Public Health
  • Community Tools and Resources
  • Coordinated School Health: The McComb Nine Component Model
  • Creating Systems and Policy Change Through Coordinated School Health
  • Developing a Sustainability Plan
  • Enlisting a Strong Partnership
  • Health Impact Assessment and the Built Environment
  • Implementing and Sustaining Policy Initiatives
  • Marketing and Promoting Your Sustainability Plan
  • Strategies and Tactics for Sustainability
  • Sustaining Your Media Exposure
  • The Why of Local Policy and Organizational Change


We are pleased to report that the Steps Program Office had a very strong response to our request for abstract proposals for oral presentations and posters. More than 80 abstracts were submitted by grantees and partners for consideration; selections were made by the Steps Workshop Abstract Review Committee. The selected posters will be displayed together in a special viewing area during the Workshop. The 20 selected oral presentations, in groups of four based on their common theme, will be delivered during the following five workshops:

  • Building Access to Healthy Eating and Physical Activity
  • Making the Case for Policy Change
  • Systems Change in Health Care
  • Sustainable Interventions for School Health
  • Planning, Implementing, and Evaluating Sustainability

Steps Heroes Nominations

Nearly 30 individuals were nominated for the 2007 Steps Community Heroes Awards Program, created this year to recognize outstanding contributions individuals have made in their effort to improve the health and well-being of others in their Steps communities. The nominees come from the Steps communities and from all walks of life. Many have worked tirelessly to advocate for policy and systems changes to support healthier communities, while others have gone above and beyond to inspire people to make personal lifestyle changes to improve their health. Although their contributions are varied, all of the nominees are dedicated to supporting the Steps Program and reducing the burden of chronic diseases. Of the nominees, six individuals have recently been selected for the Steps Community Heroes award. The recipients will be announced and officially recognized at a special ceremony to be held on the last day of the Workshop and Action Institute. Profiles of the Steps Community Heroes will be available on the Steps Web site in the summer of 2007.

Focusing on Sustainability....... Grantee-Initiated Trainings

The Steps Program Office is very excited about the work that the communities are doing in the areas of organizational/systems, environmental, and policy change and sustainability and would like to call your attention to related grantee-initiated trainings that have begun this spring. Are you interested in offering sustainability training in your location? Then we strongly encourage you to attend this year’s Steps Cooperative Agreement Program Workshop and Action Institute for education on this topic, as well as for ideas on developing training to meet your community’s needs.

Steps to a Healthier Arizona held a 2-day policy training for local community partners from across the state on April 11–12, 2007. More than 200 people representing the county health department, extension service, school board, and other organizations and agencies attended the training. The director of the Steps Program Office, Alyssa Easton, and two team leaders, Karen Voetsch and Nancy Williams, were also able to attend. This special program, conducted by the Prevention Institute, was well received by the participants. Steps to a Healthier Arizona will follow up with the participants during the year to provide assistance to the communities as they work towards policy and organizational change. Also in April, Steps to a Healthier Washington and King County Steps to Health participated in a 2-day sustainability training. The meeting went very well, and these Steps Programs will be building on the results of the meeting to develop their sustainability plans. Upcoming events include the following: Steps to a Healthier Pennsylvania will be holding a 2-day sustainability training for their communities during the second week of May, and Steps to a Healthier Anishinaabe, through the Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan, will be holding a policy and sustainability training for tribal leaders on June 26–27, 2007.

Steps Web Site Updates....... New Success Stories and a Quick Reference Grantees Contact List

New Steps Community Success Stories

Since last month’s newsletter, we are pleased to announce the upcoming posting of five additional "Community Success Stories." Please visit this link to read about successful chronic disease prevention activities taking place in Yuma County, AZ; Mesa County, CO; Weld County, CO; and Luzerne County, PA, as well as with the Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan. Eighteen stories have been previously posted on other Steps communities and more are in development!

New “Quick Reference” Grantees Contact List

Contact information—lead agency name, phone number, and Web site address—for all grantees was consolidated onto its own Web page last month for quick and easy access. This page can be accessed from a link available on the Steps Communities page and on individual grantee fact sheets.

Steps Communities "In the News"....... Weld County, Colorado and Thurston County, Washington

Denise Retzlaff, coordinator of Colorado’s Steps to a Healthier Weld County, was recently highlighted in the Greeley Tribune about her personal efforts to exercise daily and her work in helping others to lead healthier lives. One of her staff members described her as "an agent of change. She is passionate about what she does." The article not only described Denise's personal journey, but also did an excellent job of highlighting the different programs supported by Steps to a Healthier Weld County such as Around the World in 92 Days and Way-to-Go Kids.

The Olympian newspaper acknowledged the efforts of Washington’s Steps to a Healthier Thurston County in providing a $15,000 grant to the district’s Just MOVE program to “encourage individual elementary schools to come up with their own programs that would encourage students to develop a lifelong habit of physical activity.” The article listed the activities planned by the nine grant-winning schools (each receive a portion of the overall sum), such as a schoolwide running program; training for teachers for integrating movement into classrooms; a lunch hour walk/run program; an outdoor fitness center from Project Fit America; after-school soccer; the Jump and Jive Jump Rope Program; and making home fitness equipment.

Preventing Childhood Overweight in Communities....... New Tools and Initiatives

As highlighted on the Steps’ diseases and risk factors Web page, the prevalence of overweight has almost tripled among children aged 2–5 years and aged 6–11 years to 13.9% and 18.8%, respectively; and the prevalence of overweight has more than tripled to 17.4% for adolescents aged 12–19 years. To assist in addressing this serious increase, the CDC has recently developed two school-based resources: nutritional standards and an analysis tool for improving physical education curriculum. In addition, two new initiatives (one from a nonprofit organization and one from a government agency) have been announced to reduce childhood obesity. The focus of these initiatives—similar to the focus of many Steps grantees’ activities—serves to highlight the tremendous value of obesity prevention interventions to school-age children.

CDC and IOM Report on Nutrition Standards for Foods in Schools

To augment local wellness policies, Congress directed the CDC to undertake a study with the Institute of Medicine (IOM) regarding “appropriate nutrition standards for the availability, sale, content, and consumption of foods at school, with attention to competitive foods.” The ensuing April 2007 report—Nutrition Standards for Foods in Schools: Leading the Way toward Healthier Youth*—concluded that federally-reimbursable school nutrition programs should be the main source of nutrition at school; opportunities for competitive foods should be limited; and, if competitive foods are available, they should be consistent with the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The Executive Summary shows recommended standards being categorized under the following headers: nutritive food components, nonnutritive food components, the school day, and the after-school setting.

CDC’s Physical Education Curriculum Analysis Tool

To improve the ability of schools to positively influence motor skills and physical activity behaviors among school-age youth, the CDC recently released its Physical Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (PECAT), which was developed in partnership with physical education experts. As explained on the CDC Web site, “PECAT is available to help school districts conduct clear, complete, and consistent analyses of written physical education curricula, based upon national physical education standards. The tool features instructions for completing the PECAT; preliminary curriculum considerations, such as accuracy and feasibility analyses; content and student assessment analyses; customizable templates for state or local use; and scorecards and curriculum improvement plans that can be shared with key stakeholders, school administrators, or other groups interested in strengthening physical education programs. Results from the analysis can help schools enhance existing curriculum, develop their own curriculum, or select a published curriculum.”

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

In a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) press release on April 4, 2007, RWJF announced that it "will commit at least $500 million over the next five years to tackle one of the most urgent public health threats facing our nation: childhood obesity." The press release states that "RWJF will focus on improving access to affordable healthy foods and opportunities for safe physical activity in schools and communities. It will place special emphasis on reaching children at greatest risk for obesity and related health problems: African-American, Latino, Native American, Asian American and Pacific Islander children living in low-income communities." It goes on to note that, with this investment, "RWJF will expand school-based programs; help states and communities coordinate their efforts, advocate for change, and evaluate impact; and encourage food and beverage companies to offer healthier products and change their marketing practices."

National Institute of Health’s “We Can!” City Program

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that it has established the We Can! City Program to assist towns and cities across the nation in mobilizing their communities to prevent childhood overweight. According to the April 25, 2007, press release, We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity and Nutrition) is “a national education program developed by the NIH to help youth aged 8–13 years maintain a healthy weight. The first three cities to be selected for the program are South Bend, Indiana; Gary, Indiana; and Roswell, Georgia.” The press release goes on to explain that NIH will provide technical assistance on planning and implementing We Can! in the participating cities, as well as materials such as the resource We Can! Energize Our Community: Toolkit for Action. Each city has pledged to offer We Can! evidence-based obesity prevention programs to both parents and youth in collaboration with community-based partners. Intended to extend the success of Hearts N’ Parks (NIH’s 3-year collaboration with the National Recreation and Park Association), We Can! was launched in June 2005, with 14 Intensive Community Sites—including the three inaugural We Can! Cities—selected to pilot the nationwide program. Today, 173 communities in 39 states have joined the effort as a We Can! community site. The We Can! City Program extends communities' efforts in towns and cities.

Upcoming Conferences of Interest....... For Steps Grantees and Partners

*Links to non-Federal organizations are provided solely as a service to our users. Links do not constitute an endorsement of any organization by CDC or the Federal Government, and none should be  inferred. The CDC is not responsible for the content of the individual organization Web pages found at this link.

Page last reviewed: May 2, 2008
Page last modified: April 23, 2007
Content source: Division of Adult and Community Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

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