Alamosa County Public Health has partnered with National Jewish Health, San Luis Valley Health, Rocky Mountain Prevention Research Center, Alamosa and Sangre de Cristo Schools, and Adams State University to improve health in our community.

With Alamosa County Public Health as the lead organization, this team was recently awarded a grant from the Cancer, Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Disease Grant Program of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Family Health: Starting with Kids

The goal of the grant is to continue to complete yearly school-based health assessments in Alamosa County to identify early risk factors of chronic illness such as being overweight or obese and to identify children with asthma or hypertension in order to provide education, support and training to modify risk factors and improve management of chronic conditions.  Children and their families identified with a health concern will be provided opportunities to participate in evidence-based programs that will help them adopt healthy habits.

National Jewish Health is taking the lead to help youth manage their asthma. Working with school nurses, children with asthma will receive asthma self management education programs at school and their families and health care providers will receive support to ensure that the children are ready to successfully control their asthma and fully participate in the school experience.  In addition, school nurses are working to create asthma friendly and supportive school environments so that students have easy access to their inhalers and school personnel know how to recognize and handle worsening asthma.  Workshops and seminars will also be held for health care providers in the region to keep them up to date on the latest asthma management strategies.

Resources for Complete Health

School districts and Alamosa County Public Health will be sending letters to families of children with a high body mass index (BMI) to offer a new community resource. The new resource, funded by this grant, will be an opportunity to participate in SLV Health’s PRO-Fit Lifestyle program.  PRO-Fit is a healthy lifestyle program that has previously been offered in our community for adults. With some key changes, the program is now available for children and youth along with their families to learn simple and enjoyable ways to make healthier food choices and regular exercise a part of their lives to achieve and maintain good health.

In addition to the Pro-Fit program, participants will get a free fitness test at Adams State University as part of the program. Exercise Science students from Adams State’s Human Performance & Physical Education department will also be trained to teach the PRO-Fit classes allowing us to meet the needs of our community while giving these students some excellent real life experience.

Long-Term Benefits

The long-term benefit of these efforts will be a reduction in chronic disease in our youth and their families.  With one in three children expected to be diagnosed with diabetes at some point in their life, diabetes prevention is essential in our community.  Asthma is also a life-long illness that can be managed to optimize health.  This partnership will be a great asset to residents of Alamosa County.

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