This project seeks to increase individuals’ awareness and understanding of how their behaviors impact the health and wellbeing of their environments, while also supporting decision-makers in making environmental changes to support community wellbeing. Project efforts were supported by the UC Master Gardener and 4-H programs. Highlighted project outputs & outcomes include:
- Engaged >1,200 individuals annually in programs that: 1) raised awareness of how individuals’ actions affect local water quality, and 2) increased participants’ understanding of their environments.
- Workshopevaluation documented that participants (n=593) made behavior changes that increased ecosystem benefits for local landscapes.
- Developed and pilot-tested an online training for licensed childcare providers on ways to create and maintain a healthy beverage environment.
Impacts: These efforts contributed to the following condition changes: 1) improved health for all, and 2) improved access to positive built and natural environments. The measured outcomes from this project (documented in the Project Summary Table (Note: Insert link to page) demonstrated knowledge and skills learned, which led to the adoption of healthy behaviors. Additionally, the measured outcomes demonstrated that decision-makers, educators, and practitioners also gained new knowledge and skills, which led to districtwide, school, and organizational policy, systems, and environmental changes that created more opportunities for students and families to make healthy behavior changes. These changes led to a reduction in youth participants’ BMI, which is positively correlated with increased health and fiscal savings. In the USA, obesity increases annual medical care costs over $3,400/individual (Cawley, et al 2015; Biener, et al 2017), so interventions that result in a significant decrease in BMI (such as the programs discussed above) can reduce annual health care costs. So, for the 138 youth that had significant reductions in BMI, this program could save a combined $28 million dollars over their lifetimes. As these program models expand with secured federal funding, there is great potential for increased fiscal savings and increased health. Additional project efforts also demonstrated knowledge and skills learned, which led to adoption of behaviors that can improve community wellbeing. As educators and practitioners also gain new knowledge and skills, we anticipate environmental improvements, which will create more opportunities to spend time outdoors, reduce community exposure to pesticides, and increase access to clean drinking water. In this way, these efforts support improved access to positive built environments, green spaces, and the outdoors. As these projects continue, we anticipate impacts will support community wellness across California and beyond. These efforts contributed to UC ANR’s public value: promoting healthy people & communities.