Central Falls and Pawtucket Residents Know What it Takes to Get Healthy

Poll shows strong support for building a culture of health in Rhode Island communities!

Newly released results from a recent poll of 401 Central Falls and Pawtucket residents shows very strong support for state and local policies centered on healthy food access and physical activity.

The poll showed clear support for healthier food and beverage options at workplaces and public places (83%), as well as increased minutes for Physical Education at school (90%) and incorporating physical activity before, during and after school through recess, classroom exercise breaks, and physical activity clubs (92%).

Five out of six respondents favor a local policy that would ensure healthier food and beverage options are made available through vending machines, cafeterias and concession stands at workplaces and in public places. After hearing additional information about healthy food and beverage options, support of this issue rose to 88%.

Overall, the poll results show that residents believe it is important to have choices, but right now too many of the choices in vending machines, cafeterias, and concession stands in public places are unhealthy. Ninety percent believe that people and families who visit public places deserve a chance to choose healthy foods as well. In addition, there is a growing demand for healthier food options. Eighty-six percent expressed that local government can lead the way by offering healthier food and beverage options through vending machines, cafeterias, and concession stands.

michael_fine“If we make Rhode Island grown fresh fruits and vegetables the easy choice, we’ll live longer, feel stronger, and strengthen our communities,” commented Dr. Michael Fine, Senior Population Health and Clinical Officer at Blackstone Valley Community Health Care.

Along with healthy food access, Central Falls and Pawtucket residents also recognize the importance of instilling lifelong healthy habits by increasing physical activity for children. Ninety percent of respondents favor local policies and measures that increase the number of minutes per week that public school students have the opportunity to be physically active in physical education classes. Respondents generally want to improve the competency of teachers in Central Falls and Pawtucket to incorporate more physical activity for children. In fact, five out of six participants favor increasing physical education and classroom training for teachers so that teachers can improve quality, comprehensive physical education and physical activity before, during, and after school.

“As a First Grade teacher, I have seen how getting kids physically active during the school day can improve their learning,” said Debra Lough, from Ella Risk Elementary School in Central Falls. “When I noticed the ‘Exercise Breaks in the Classroom’ training being offered as part of our professional development, it immediately grabbed my attention. I thought it would be a great tool to use to keep the students engaged throughout the day.  After taking the class, I am excited to implement it into my daily routines. The children will enjoy the break and it will stimulate and refocus them back to the content area being taught.  All students and adults can benefit from these routines. Teachers who are apprehensive about disrupting their learning routines will find that it will actually engage the students more!”

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The American Heart Association recommends that children and adolescents get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity every day. Increased physical activity has been associated with an increased life expectancy and decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.  Physical activity produces overall physical, psychological and social benefits. Source

The Central Falls and Pawtucket poll indicates a strong and broad base of support for American Heart Association’s initiative, with significant majorities supporting the improvement of healthy options accessible at workplaces and public spaces, and increase the quality and quantity of physical activity before, during and after school.

2016-poll-infographic-finalThis poll of 401 Central Falls and Pawtucket residents was conducted through the American Heart Association’s ANCHOR Project (Accelerating National Community Health Outcomes through Reinforcing Partnerships Project) from July 31 through August 3, 2016 by Baselice and Associates. Working alongside coalition partners and community members, efforts are ongoing to improve healthy food options in workplaces and public places, and increase physical activity for children. There are many ways for interested community members to get involved in this work. Please contact RI Project Lead Candace Pierce for more information at candace.pierce@heart.org.

The ANCHOR Project is a federally funded collaboration between the American Heart Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Central Falls, Pawtucket and Providence are three Rhode Island communities among those from across the country selected for CDC’s Division of Community Health grant projects. The ANCHOR project seeks to build and strengthen health promotion efforts at the community level. The content of this poll does not necessarily reflect the views of the CDC.

Download the infographic in ENGLISH AND SPANISH here: POLL INFOGRAPHIC.pdf.

For more information on the American Heart Association visit www.heart.org/GetHealthyRI. For more information on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention go to www.cdc.gov. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country.  Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. #GetHealthyRI

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