Department of Health

Health Department Receives WellPoint Foundation Grant

The Health Department has been awarded a $20,000 grant from the WellPoint Foundation to promote the Small Changes for Health program.

February 1, 2011 | 2 min reading time

This article is 9 years old. It was published on February 1, 2011.

WellPoint Foundation awarded a $20,000 grant to the City of St. Louis Department of Health to enhance and spread the Small Changes for Health (SCFH) program throughout the City. The City of St. Louis Department of Health in partnership with Emmis Communications will promote healthier lifestyles through its 2011 version of the SCFH program.  SCFH is a computer based, behavior modification program designed to help participants "try out" healthy behaviors and incorporate the ones that help them achieve healthier lifestyles. Physical activity is a major component in maintaining a healthy body. SCFH will progressively build up the capacity to be physically active and, in the process, promote better overall health. 

SCFH began as a Health Department employee wellness initiative in 2004 under the Health Promotion, Education and Marketing Division. The design of the program called for participants to try out a new healthy behavior each week for an entire year. Behaviors fell into the categories of nutrition, physical activity, stress management, and general health, incorporating baseline measures, goal-setting and rewards. Participants received information and other support to assist them in completing that behavior. As participants completed the week, they provided feedback on their progress and whether they would adopt that behavior long-term. Initial and quarterly progress checks were built into the program to show participants what they achieved in the 52-weeks. The many successes of the program included weight loss, improved blood pressure, improved cholesterol levels, smoking cessation, increased physical activity, improved nutritional habits and increased awareness of healthy behaviors.

The 2011 version of SCFH is a 10-week program that is scheduled to begin in February 2011. It will have physical activity as a key focus to tie in with

St. Louis ' efforts as a Let's Move City under First Lady Michelle Obama's national program. It will be open to all city employees through Anthem Health Care, but city residents can participate, too. As before, participants will pledge to try each weekly activity and complete the program. They will report their progress and follow-up during and at the end of the program. Participants will receive information to assist them in completing that weekly activity. Participation incentives will be provided and prizes will be awarded to those individuals making the most progress during the 10 weeks. The goal is to have those individuals who complete the program do 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week and engage in muscle strengthening activity at least two days a week. Participants are also expected to gain knowledge about their own physical health.

"The WellPoint Foundation grant is essential in taking this program to the next level," says registered dietitian Lori Jones of Health Promotion. Grant funds will be spent to configure the computer-based program, produce necessary support materials, publicize the program to potential participants, and purchase some incentive items. "This funding will allow us to reach more people and hopefully impact more lives," Jones adds.

If you have additional questions regarding this program, please contact Warren Nichols, City of St. Louis Department of Health, at (314) 657-1485, or Blake Salger, Emmis Communications, at (314) 613-7838.

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