Healthy Families, Healthy Communities Barron County

Improving the health of rural communities, families, and individuals in Barron County

Full Project Name:Healthy Families, Healthy Communities Barron CountyPrimary Community Organization:Healthier Cumberland CoalitionPrimary Academic Partner:Jane Kotchen, MD, MPH, Institute for Health and Equity
Award Date
February2011
Project Duration:60 months

Project Description Narrative:


Barron County has significant need for health improvement interventions focused on dietary intake and physical activity, with the 2010 County Health Rankings identifying Barron County as 64 out of 72 counties in measures of health behaviors inclusive of diet and exercise. The same report places Barron County 58 out of 72 counties in health factors and 51 out of 72 in health outcomes, with many related to increased obesity. In addition, surveys of Barron County adults and youth show high rates of obesity and low rates of physical activity, with 77% of adult males and 59% of adult females identifying as overweight or obese and 27% of adults reporting physical inactivity. In area schools, 23% of students were measured as obese and 75% of students did not meet the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity daily and 48% of students did not participate in physical activity classes in a normal week.

With that data, the 2009-2013 Barron County Community Health Improvement Plan identifies nutrition, exercise and obesity prevention as one of Barron County's top three health priorities. The goal of this project is to improve health of rural communities, families, and individuals in Barron County through collaborative partnerships and interventions to increase levels of physical activity and healthy eating patterns and decrease overweight and obesity.

Community partners:
Aging & Disability Resource Center of Barron County, Barron Area School District, Barron County Faith Communities, Grocery Stores, Restaurants and Worksites, Barron County Restorative Justice, Barron County Safe & Stable Families Coalition, Barron Electric Cooperative, Boys & Girls Clubs of Barron County, Cameron School District, Chetek-Weyerhaeuser School District, Cumberland Healthcare, Cumberland School District, Don Johnson Auto Group, Healthy Lifestyles Network, Koser Radio Networks, Lakeview Medical Center, Marshfield Clinic, Mayo Clinic Health System, Northwoods Coalition Northwest Region, Prairie Farm School District, Rice Lake Area School District, Rice Lake Chronotype, Rice Lake Printery, THRIVE Barron County, Turtle Lake School District, Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College - Rice Lake

Additional MCW academic partner:
Thomas Chelius, MS, Clinical Translational Science Institute

Outcomes & Lessons Learned:


• Engaged multiple community sectors — including schools, worksites, health care organizations, faith-based organizations, restaurants, and grocery stores — to increase physical activity levels and healthy eating countywide

• Developed and implemented a seven week school-based Healthy Habits class for area youth

• Created the Excel with Be Well worksite wellness program that engaged 15 worksites across the county to successfully implement and maintain an employee wellness program

• Built collaborations with three area health care systems to host an annual event providing free metabolic/BMI testing and provided motivational interviewing training for area health care providers

• Engaged nine local restaurants in advertising healthy menu options and seven grocery stores in offering point-of-decision prompts that included healthy recipes and produce-use cards

• Engaged project partners in sustainability planning to identify plans and opportunities to sustain project program beyond the funding award period, obtaining commitments to sustain projects such as diabetes prevention programs, Healthy Habits classes, Excel with Be Well programming, motivational interviewing instruction, and grocery store point-of-decision prompts

“•” Leveraged $25,000 from a Wisconsin Department of Health Services Chronic Disease Prevention grant to expand the project's diabetes prevention program

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