Welcome to Kentucky Family Policy

This blog is dedicated to examining issues facing the Commonwealth of Kentucky and providing a nonpartisan, family perspective on public policy making. We hope to provide a forum for Kentuckians to review and discuss current legislative actions and the issues such actions are attempting to address. The opinions expressed herein belong solely to the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the University of Kentucky, its affiliates, or its representatives.

What the authors of this blog will contribute:
1) Summarize current state, national, and international research related to topics relevant to current legilative actions.
2) Describe Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service programs and activities currently addressing issues related to legilative actions in the various counties.
3) Provide expert commentaries via podcasts and videocasts on issues relevant to current legilative actions.

Please see "Priority Bills" section on the right for a short list of the most current legislative actions relevant to the family focus of this blog

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Decreasing Weight For Good Health

Kentucky has the seventh-highest rate of adult obesity in the nation. The Kentucky Institute of Medicine reported that McCracken County is ranked 27th in the state in a comparative assessment of health risk compared to the other counties. To reduce risk of deaths due to cardiovascular disease, Weight the Reality Series, an eight-week class that teaches behavior change, including portion control and healthy choices, was offered to the community. Twenty-two people enrolled in the eight-week challenge to get the support, education, and accountability needed to get on the road to weight loss and increased activity levels. At the conclusion of the program: A total of 72.2 pounds were lost by the group and average weight loss or the class was 3.45 percent of body weight. 
To see the entire Building Strong Families county profile for McCracken county, please click the link.

Making Healthy Lifestyle Choices

According to the Kentucky Institute of Medicine, 21 percent of Woodford County's adult population is classified as obese. To address this trend, the Be WELL (Workshops for Everyday Living and Longevity) series was introduced to the county. Utilizing concepts from Weight the Reality series, this workshop addressed weight maintenance and loss from a holistic perspective. Topics included portion control, motivation for health, and healthy cooking. Eleven participants attended the sessions. When asked about information learned at the workshops and the intention to utilize this information within four weeks, 75 percent strongly agreed and 25 percent agreed that they would incorporate at least one tip for weight control. Eight-six percent strongly agreed and 14 percent agreed that they would incorporate at least one tip or idea learned for healthy cooking. 
To see the entire Building Strong Families county profile for Woodford county, please click the link.

Making Healthy Lifestyle Choices

According to an article in the Louisville Courier Journal in September 2010, obesity is blamed for 300,000 deaths and $147 billion in health care costs each year in Kentucky. The Pendleton County Extension Service, in collaboration with other partners, presented a program called "Waist Management" to take steps to help individuals make healthier lifestyle choices. During the course of an eight-week weight loss challenge, the following was reported: A total of 45 individuals participated in the program; a total of 193 pounds were lost; with the largest percentage of weight loss for an individual 13.46 percent. During the program: pre- and post-blood screenings and tests for chronic health conditions were completed; 61 percent reported a positive change in screenings.
To see the entire Building Strong Families county profile for Pendleton county, please click the link.

Lyon County Extension Homemakers Community Leaders

Lyon County Extension Homemakers used their leadership skills to strengthen the organization's outreach to the community during the year. Homemaker Council members and Lyon County Cooperative Extension 4H Youth Development agent prioritized program focus and identified people who could effectively lead the programs. The Pretend Store Holiday project for 35 limited resource preschoolers was successful, especially in including men as volunteers to promote positive male role models. Members focused on providing food for hungry residents by volunteering at and supporting the local food bank. Extension Homemaker leaders also financially benefited local organizations through their efforts: A Community Yard Sale raised $1,000 for the 4-H Camp Scholarship Fund and $648 was raised with a dessert auction for support of the Pretend Store project.
To see the entire Building Strong Families county profile for Lyonhttp://www.ca.uky.edu/hes/fcs/Strong_Families_13/2013-BSF-Lyon.pdf county, please click the link.

Increasing Physical Activity

Harlan County is in the top 10 least healthy counties in the state. In 2007, Harlan County was ranked 119 out of 120 Kentucky counties. In 2011, these rates were released again and the county was ranked 117. The Harlan County Cooperative Extension Service coordinated a community physical activity awareness program with 143 participants. Of the 143 people who attended, 100 percent stated that they would exercise more than three times a week. Booths were set up to give participants information on ways to be active, portion sizes, diabetes control, and the food guide pyramid. As a result of this successful response, Harlan County restarted Get Moving Kentucky (after a lapse of two years) and 321 people enrolled and exercised almost daily for eight weeks.
To see the entire Building Strong Families county profile for Harlan county, please click the link.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

All Star Dads

Harrison County, through the Harrison County Cooperative Extension Service, piloted a physical activity program for men ages 24 to 40 entitled All Star Dads. Through the program, 1,200 students in kindergarten through fifth grade twice received score cards to record physical activity done with their dads. In Harrison County, dads turned in 38 cards. All dads received All Star Dad yard signs and trophy stickers upon completion of the card. The county school superintendent, resource center directors, and school nurse adopted the program eagerly. Extension reached teachers, coaches and staff they had not worked with before, as well as a new audience of young men and fathers. This physical activity program enhances other existing extension programs such as Second Sunday, Big Feet-Little Feet, and Longest Day of Play. 
To see the entire Building Strong Families county profile for Harrison county, please click the link.

Big Blue Shape Up

Both youth and adults in Clinton County continue to struggle with obesity and lack of physical activity. According to "County Health Rankings (2012)," 38 percent of adults are physically inactive and 33 percent are obese. This year, 79 adults participated in Big Blue Shape Up series that focused on techniques for improved health and wellness. To determine current eating patterns and track changes, participants completed a 24-hour food recall at the beginning of the program. In addition to weekly weigh-ins, educational lessons focused on portion control, diabetes management, label reading, and reducing sodium and sugar. At the end of the series, 50 individuals completed all 10 weeks with a combined weight loss of 419 pounds.. As an additional challenge, 19 participants consumed 68,799 ounces of water in 10 weeks.
To see the entire Building Strong Families county profile for Clinton county, please click the link.