Sonoma County Department of Health Services convened a collaborative of community partners under the South Santa Rosa HEAL Zone Project, which has been funded since 2007 by grants from Kaiser Permanente Northern California Community Benefit Program. Local organizations have joined the partnership to help improve health in underserved areas. Programs aimed at reducing sugar-sweetened beverage consumption among Southwest Santa Rosa residents ultimately work to address health risks associated with unhealthy weight.
Children and adults living in the Roseland and Moorland neighborhoods are more likely to be overweight and at higher risk of health consequences than those living in more affluent communities. Data from the California 2015-2016 Physical Fitness Testing showed 71 percent of Roseland School District fifth-graders were overweight, compared to 39 percent of all fifth-graders in Sonoma County.
Studies point to sugar-sweetened beverages as the largest contributor to excessive daily caloric intake, which is associated with unhealthy weight. While state and federal laws have been passed to reduce sugary drink consumption, residents and schools in the Roseland and Moorland neighborhoods sought to do more to promote water consumption.
Water stations with filters and bottle filling capabilities have been installed at all six Roseland schools for students and staff. Community water stations were also installed in the neighborhood near the Joe Rodota Trail and in the Roseland Shopping Center parkette; two additional water stations are being installed in Andy’s Unity Park in the Moorland neighborhood.
The program also included training and funding for healthy beverage education for students and residents.
The selection of water stations, as well as education efforts, were accomplished with input and support from partnerships between the Community Club of Roseland, Moorland Neighborhood Action Team, Sonoma County Community Development Commission, Sonoma County Regional Parks, Roseland School District and theCity of Santa Rosa’s Take it From the Tap! program.
Kaiser Permanente’s community involvement uniquely pairs grant funding with 65 years of clinical expertise, medical research, and volunteerism to support prevention-focused, evidence-based programs that are expanding access to care and creating healthy environments. Kaiser Permanente recently awarded County of Sonoma, Department of Health Services a $1 million grant that will help more people in the Roseland HEAL Zone get access to the resources they need to lead a healthy life.For more information about Kaiser Permanente’s work in the community, visit www.kp.org/communitybenefit/ncal.
Healthy Eating, Active Living Community Health Initiative (HEAL) is a project of the Community Activity and Nutrition Coalition of Sonoma County (CAN-C) that is funded by Kaiser Permanente Northern California Region. The goal of HEAL is to create a sphere of influence, a "HEAL Zone," in Kawana Springs and Roseland neighborhoods that makes it easier for community members to eat healthier foods and be more physical activity throughout life, from infancy through adulthood, in order to prevent diseases such as diabetes and hypertension that often result from obesity.
The HEAL Zones are a continuation of a five-year initiative started in 2006 that empowered communities to promote healthy eating and active living through sustainable policy, systems, and environmental change across schools, worksites, healthcare facilities, and neighborhoods. In south Santa Rosa, these changes included adding salad bars to seven schools and improving school lunches in three school districts, offering breastfeeding and healthier living counseling and classes to patients at community clinics, empowering residents to create healthy changes in their communities through leadership development, and launching the Healthy Food Outlet Project and the Smart Meal Program.
The goals for the next three years of HEAL are:
- Decrease calorie consumption, especially sugar-sweetened beverages
- Increase consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables
- Increase physical activity in community settings, such as parks and safe routes for walking and biking
- Increase physical activity in institutional settings, such as schools and workplaces
The project will continue to focus on sustainable environmental, system and policy changes that help to reduce racial and ethnic disparities associated with poor nutrition and inactivity. Additionally, community members will continue to drive changes in their own physical and social environments and/or advocate for policies that promote healthy eating and active living. These goals will be accomplished through the implementation of a Community Action Plan (CAP), created by residents and representatives from schools, worksites, and healthcare serving south Santa Rosa.