Physical Activity and Nutrition Program Quarterly News

News from the Physical Activity and Nutrition Program

Let me be the first to wish you a Happy National Physical Fitness and Sports month! May is the chosen month for this designation and for all of us in Vermont, it is a perfect time to get outside and exercise after a long, cold winter. There are many opportunities to take advantage of, including Green Up Day on May 2, the opening of farmer’s markets and state parks throughout the month, and of course the opportunity to walk without worrying about slipping on ice or getting frostbite!

Join me in finding ways to be active each day, to shake off the winter and enjoy spring in Vermont. I will be walking (including in the Corporate Cup on May 14), raking, planting my garden, and riding my bike. What will you do? Other ideas are listed throughout this newsletter and will appear on the Vermont Department of Health’s Facebook page throughout the month. Have fun, be safe and don’t forget your sunscreen!

Sue Kamp

Physical Activity and Nutrition Program Administrator


Healthy Communities


Legislators Learn About Healthy Community Design
On Thursday, April 16, AARP and the Health Department co-sponsored a reception on “healthy community design” at the Statehouse featuring a keynote by Mark Fenton, community design expert and Associate Professor at Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. The purpose of the reception was to share with legislators facts about why we should, and how we can, create places where all modes of transportation are included in state and community level planning and development projects. Mr. Fenton presented facts about the health and economic benefits of healthy community design, shared examples from local communities, and offered a number of no cost solutions, such as prioritizing state transportation projects that include all modes of transportation over those that only account for automobiles. Several Health Department community coalitions had exhibits showcasing their accomplishments creating “healthy” communities. Approximately 40-50 legislators attended the event and a handful of legislators also joined Mr. Fenton for a lunchtime walk through Montpelier.

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“Tested” Communications Message to Use to Promote Walking

The EveryBody Walk! Collaborative is a partnership of diverse organizations dedicated to making walking and walkability a valued part of every community.

Every Body Walk! recently engaged in a national collaborative process to develop an engaging consumer message that would motivate more people to walk. Focusing on groups with health disparities, they identified priorities and messages for particular audiences including low-income populations and people over the age of 60.

The testing found that while people already know that walking is good for them, that was not motivation enough to get moving. But when some learned about the opportunity to build stronger relationships and human connections by walking with others, they became genuinely interested. People who started walking because a doctor told them to for health reasons, reported maintaining walking regimens because they liked walking with people, meeting neighbors and connecting to their surroundings.

The message selected should work well with other audiences as well as the ones it was tested on, and the toolkit offers examples of how to shape the messages to suit specific needs. You may also view the related webinar for more information and instruction.

Every Body Walk! is encouraging people to develop their own messages around the campaign and email the campaign with examples on how the communications frame toolkit is used.

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Physical Activity in Schools

Starting in the fall of 2014, Vermont’s Educational Quality Standards called for schools to “offer options for students in grades K-12 participate in at least 30 minutes of physical activity within or outside of the school day.” This is in addition to the required level of physical education classes for each student. This follows multiple research studies which show that students who have opportunities to exercise during the day do better academically.

To help teachers develop ways to add physical activity into the school day, the Agency of Education and Vermont Department of Health created this set of guidelines that offers information about the rule and resources. Additionally, the Agency of Education hosts Physical Activity Leader training annually, a comprehensive program that empowers school champions to enable all students to get moving 60 minutes a day. Finally, SHAPE America has suggestions on it’s website.

Many teachers already follow this practice, particularly for younger children. But we also know teens need to move! In Montpelier, the high school offers Montpelier High School Unplugged each day, which provides opportunities for students to take a break by doing yoga, throwing a Frisbee and playing basketball, along with music and art offerings. We look forward to hearing about other creative ways to get kids active throughout the school day.


New Yorker Cartoonist Partners with Health Department to Promote Children’s Health

Harry Bliss, award-winning cartoonist for the New Yorker and a children’s book illustrator whose works include the popular Bailey series, is partnering with the Division of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention to promote children’s health. Working with schools across the state, original Bliss drawings will be turned into coloring pages that convey important health messages aimed at kids and their parents, such as the importance of exercise and the regular use of sunscreen. Children will be encouraged to share their completed coloring pages with the Health Department for a chance to win a signed set of Bliss’ books, as well as a visit to their school by the acclaimed artist.
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Worksite Wellness



The 32nd Annual Vermont Corporate Cup & State Agency Race will be held on Thursday, May 14, 2015 at 6:00pm starting on the Statehouse lawn.
The Vermont Corporate Cup & State Agency Race is a 5 kilometer team running/walking event open to businesses, government and non-profit organizations in Vermont. The purpose of this event is to promote physical fitness within the workplace and at home by bringing employees together to enjoy and experience the benefits of fitness.
The deadline to register is May 4, 2015.

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Clinical News



Physical Activity is the Best Medicine

Imagine a single pill that improves your blood pressure and blood laboratory values such as sugar (glucose) and fat (triglycerides). Imagine this pill also providing more energy, better sleep, a positive mood and improved body weight control. Add in stronger muscles and more flexible joints.

While there is no super pill that provides these results, physical activity is probably the “best medicine” for everyone. Regular exercise includes moving more and building strength. Look for opportunities to build physical activity into your day: take the stairs, go for a walk, dance or do yoga. You can even engage in strengthening exercises throughout the day with squats, lunges or using simple resistance bands and free weights. Many types of physical activity are also opportunities for fun whether alone with music, podcasts, and audio books, or while socializing with friends.

The CDC has simple guidelines for the types and amounts of exercise recommended at any age. To improve or maintain fitness, prevent chronic health conditions, and live better overall, remember move to improve!

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Funding News


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Green Thumbs at Work 
The Vermont Department of Health and Vermont Community Garden Network have awarded eight food garden grants to small businesses and organizations around the state. They will each receive $500 for materials, a $250 gift certificate to Gardener’s Supply, and $1,000 in technical assistance.

The Green Thumbs at Work program provides a means of physical activity and stress reduction, increases access to fresh produce, and promotes opportunities for other wellness activities. The grant program is a partnership of the Vermont Department of Health, Vermont Community Garden Network, Charlie Nardozzi, and Gardener’s Supply.

The Green Thumbs at Work grantees:
– Carris Reels-Plastics Division in Center Rutland
– Community Health Centers of the Rutland Region in Rutland
– Hickok & Boardman Financial Planning in Burlington
– Milton CAT in Richmond
– NEKCA Head Start in Barton

– OpenTempo in Williston
– Sunrise Family Resource Center in Bennington
– Washington Electric Coop in East Montpelier


Upcoming Events
May 2015 Issue


Please forward this newsletter to interested colleagues!


Check out our website  My Moment
Vermont Department of Health: Physical Activity and Nutrition | |
108 Cherry Street
Suite 203
Burlington, VT 05401


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