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Nursing Students Partner with Blue Cross of Idaho to Improve Community Health

Community and Population Health Nursing Students

Students in Mark Siemon’s community and population health nursing course completed an assessment of residents in Kuna, Idaho for and in partnership with the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health’s High Five Children’s Health Collaborative grant.

The High Five community health grants are designed to help Idaho communities increase physical activity, improve access to healthy and affordable foods, create healthier schools and childcare facilities, educate parents to make healthier choices, and promote policies that help prevent children and youth from becoming overweight and obese.

The students developed a community survey to assess the perceptions of Kuna residents on the different High Five goals, and they pilot tested the Family Nutrition and Physical Activity (FNPA) survey to see if it could be used to measure change in family influences on children’s nutrition, physical activity, and home environment that may increase children’s risk of becoming overweight or obese as part of the High Five grant evaluation plan.

The students found that the majority of residents who were surveyed felt that childhood obesity was a problem in their community, and a majority also believed that children in their community were not getting enough exercise or physical activity. A strong majority also supported a proposed municipal bond issue that would provide funding for a sports complex which includes an indoor swimming pool, a Boys & Girls Club and a YMCA in Kuna.

The results from the FNPA survey found that very few of the residents who responded to the survey reported family or home environmental risk factors that would contribute to or increase the risk of children and youth being overweight and obese. However, screen time behavior (more than two hours on TV, games, or computer per day; whether the family limits the amount of TV their children watch; and whether they allow their children to watch TV in their bedroom) scored worse than other categories.

The students presented their results to representatives from the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health, and included a recommendation to continue to monitor Kuna’s development through the High Five Idaho program, particularly focusing on the results of the proposed bond and development of physical activity programs and events for children and families.  The students also recommended that Blue Cross continue to use the FNPA tool to determine effectiveness of High Five Idaho interventions on the family and home environment and that interventions be developed to reduce screen time among children. The nursing students involved in the project were: Shantyl Betty, Rebecca Cotterell, Hillary Dorsey, Brad Goll, Brandon Kruse, Julianne Padron, Katie Rambo, Kiley Shipley, Crystal Steffler, and Alexandra Waddell. The representatives from Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health were very impressed and appreciative of the students work, and they expressed the desire to continue the collaboration between the High Five grant program and Boise State University.