Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Journal of Environmental and Public Health
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 162403, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/162403
Research Article

The StrongWomen Change Clubs: Engaging Residents to Catalyze Positive Change in Food and Physical Activity Environments

1Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA
2Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111, USA
3Boston Public Schools, Boston, MA 02111, USA
4Athletics House, Level 2, 31 Aughtie Drive, Albert Park, VIC 3206, Australia

Received 16 July 2014; Revised 14 October 2014; Accepted 17 October 2014; Published 30 November 2014

Academic Editor: Brian Buckley

Copyright © 2014 Rebecca A. Seguin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Introduction. The epidemic of obesity is a multifaceted public health issue. Positive policy and environmental changes are needed to support healthier eating and increased physical activity. Methods. StrongWomen Change Clubs (SWCCs) were developed through an academic-community research partnership between researchers at Cornell University and Tufts University and community partners (cooperative extension educators) in rural towns in seven U.S. states. Extension educators served as the local leader and each recruited 10–15 residents to undertake a project to improve some aspect of the nutrition or physical activity environment. Most residents had limited (or no) experience in civic engagement. At 6 and 12 months after implementation, the research team conducted key informant interviews with SWCC leaders to capture their perceptions of program process, benchmark achievement, and self-efficacy. Results. At 12 months, each SWCC had accomplished one benchmark; the majority had completed three or more benchmarks. They described common processes for achieving benchmarks such as building relationships and leveraging stakeholder partnerships. Barriers to benchmark achievement included busy schedules and resistance to and slow pace of change. Conclusion. Findings suggest that community change initiatives that involve stakeholders, build upon existing activities and organizational resources, and establish feasible timelines and goals can successfully catalyze environmental change.