Zip code more important than genetic code

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a person's zip code has more impact on their health than their genetic code does. Some neighborhoods are at higher risk for childhood obesity based on the correlation of the “social determinants of health” such as poverty and educational attainment and obesity. Additionally, these neighborhoods face unique challenges in the built environment—food access, safe walking routes, and public play space availability, to name a few. 

Lawrence/Indianapolis Far Eastside—a neighborhood comprised of zip codes 46226, 46235, 46216, and 46236—was chosen as our first Community Demonstration Project, an opportunity to pilot multiple obesity reduction and prevention strategies across a variety of sectors to maximize impact. What we learn in Lawrence/Far Eastside will inform other neighborhood-focused initiatives in the future.

Why Lawrence/Far Eastside?

Children in this area face some of the highest risk for childhood obesity in central Indiana, based on high poverty rates, significant health disparities, and scarce resources.  Significant socio-economic and health disparities exist between the southern and northern portions of the community. Find out more in the detailed Greater Lawrence/Far Eastside Healthiest Cities Challenge project description.  

Steering Committee

Strong community partnerships exist between Lawrence Township Schools, Community Health Network, the YMCA, major employers, and the Community Alliance for the Far Eastside (CAFE), among others. Leveraging these efforts, an initial steering committee of these partners, local elected officials and others began meeting in early 2016 to prioritize and address an array of more systemic issues, including food access, transportation and safe walking routes, and access to playgrounds or other safe areas for physical activity. Learn more about the steering committee and its commitment.

Kids in Greater Lawrence/Far Eastside Indianapolis accept Healthiest Cities Challenge award

Greater Lawrence/Far Eastside Healthiest Cities Challenge Updates

Gaining Momentum

April 2017 - More than 6,460 students in grades 3-12 from 17 schools (Lawrence Township and IPS) completed the Student Health Assessment Questionnaire (SHAQ), providing a snapshot of their typical eating and physical activity habits. This baseline data can be used to demonstrate how behaviors change over time as a result of our cross-sector interventions. Additionally, Lawrence Township Schools introduced fruit and yogurt parfaits and fun "bananagram" messages, among other items, to encourage students to eat healthy. The Benjamin Harrison YMCA celebrated Kids Day on April 29 with activities and giveaways that support kids' health; the open house was free and introduced the community to active summer program opportunities for kids. 

Healthy Workplaces

March 2017 - We are actively recruiting small to medium sized businesses in Greater Lawrence/Far East Indianapolis to participate in our employer wellness coaching program and other workplace initiatives. All employers—regardless of geographical location—can also work alongside us at their own pace to launch or expand their workplace wellness programs. We’ve just launched a series of workplace wellness guides and website pages to support these efforts.

Child Care Provider Training

February 2017 - Twelve child care providers began participating in the established Taking Steps to Healthy Success training program to promote healthy habits. Several of these are licensed in-home child care providers, and some are primarily Spanish-speaking households, so we’ve expanded the number of family oriented Spanish resources in our Resource Hub as one way to support them.

Early Accomplishments

January 2017 - Schools, child care providers, and others are already working to promote healthy habits and create healthy environments in Greater Lawrence/Far East Indianapolis. Learn more about the neighborhood and the project’s early accomplishments in 2016.

"Healthy Community 50"

September 2016 - Greater Lawrence/Far Eastside named one of 50 communities nationwide to compete in two-year Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge for a chance at $250,000. Find out more in the official press release. 

Bipartisan, Multi-Sector Leadership

March 2016 - Republic Mayor of Lawrence Steve Collier, Democrat Lawrence Township Trustee Steve Talley, corporate and hospital executives, school administrators, directors of youth organizations, early childhood care providers, community development advocates, public health officials and others unite to improve children's health in Greater Lawrence/Far Eastside Indy. Find out more about the steering committee that leads our efforts. 

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