The purpose of Healthy Santa Barbara County is to create an infrastructure to support the reduction of overweight/obesity and promote fitness among the citizens of Santa Barbara County.
Obesity and overweight are major health problems among the citizens of Santa Barbara County, especially among Latinos and those with lower-incomes. Obesity among children is a particular concern, as lifelong eating and exercise patterns are generally established early in life. Obesity is a contributing factor to several leading causes of premature death and disease. Obesity also has financial impacts, costing $434 million per year in related health care and lost productivity in SB County in 2006.
Environmental factors such as access to healthy foods and safe, low-cost, exercise opportunities significantly affect people's weight. While many existing programs are effectively addressing obesity prevention and treatment, because of funding, geographic, and other limitations, they generally serve limited numbers of people for a limited amount of time, leaving many people underserved. Further, most current intervention efforts focus on personal change rather than environmental conditions and related policies.
A long-term, multi-dimensional approach including both policy and personal change strategies is needed to promote fitness and prevent obesity among the residents of Santa Barbara County. The Public Health Department (PHD) is in a unique position to coordinate and support the fitness promotion efforts of community service providers, and to develop policies and practices that support fitness among PHD staff and other County employees.
The overarching goal of Healthy Santa Barbara County is to increase the percentage of people with healthy weight, and to reduce the number of people who die prematurely and suffer from obesity-related health problems such as diabetes and heart disease. Creating the environmental conditions and policies that support healthy eating and physical activity are related objectives.
Key objectives include:
- Researching best practices demonstrated to increase fitness and reduce obesity
- Working with community coalitions to identify promising strategies to promote fitness
- Developing specific recommendations for implementation by the PHD related to clients served by PHD programs and to employees of the PHD and/or County
- Considering how these efforts will be coordinated with community-based obesity prevention efforts
- Developing action plans, including specific tasks with measureable outcomes, time frames, and responsible staff for each recommendation
- Identifying evaluation methods for determining progress on each recommendation
Strategies for Living a Healthy Lifestyle
- Increase consumption of fruits and vegetables
- Increase physical activity (at least 30 minutes every day)
- Increase breastfeeding and duration
- Reduce consumption of high fat/sugar foods and drinks
- Reduce television viewing/screen time
Santa Barbara County Obesity Prevention Plan
To read Santa Barbara County's Obesity Prevention Plan click here.
For additional resources click here.