P4 Lead, Dr. Brett Stone, presents information on physical activity in schools.

The Arkansas Department of Health, and Healthy Active Arkansas (HAA) partner, hosted a community ambassador training on Saturday, April 22. Attendees were community youth leaders and pageant contestants who learned how to incorporate HAA into their civic and community platforms. HAA is the 10-year initiative that the Governor endorsed to increase the percentage of Arkansans who are at a healthy weight.

Community ambassadors had an opportunity to learn from ADH spokespeople and Healthy Active Arkansas Priority Area Leads about some of the health challenges facing Arkansans and strategies to address those challenges. Some of the topics included: the physical and built environment; access to healthy foods; nutritional standards in schools; physical education in the schools; breastfeeding; and marketing.

“As Healthy Active Arkansas ambassadors, these youth leaders will have access to public health leaders who helped draft the state plan to reduce obesity,” said Michelle Smith, PhD, Director of the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities.” They can take what they’ve learned back to their communities with an enhanced platform and strategies to improve the health of all Arkansans.”

Fox 16 Anchor Donna Terrell conducted mock interviews with the participants to allow them to practice speaking about HAA. She provided feedback to coach them on being effective spokespeople for the HAA plan. Participants had a chance to speak about the priority areas and address why the plan is so important for the state.

“The Healthy Active Arkansas plan can be incorporated into any business, coalition, school or community,” said Marisha DiCarlo, PhD, ADH Director of the Office of Health Communications and Interim Executive Manager for HAA. “This training provides an opportunity for community ambassadors to identify the parts of the plan that resonate with them and to share the strategies of HAA with their communities.”

Healthy Active Arkansas is a framework that encourages and enables healthy lifestyles in Arkansas. The plan has 2-year, 5-year and 10-year evidence-based strategies that are focused on creating a state where everyone has the opportunity to be healthy.

Learn more about becoming an HAA Ambassador.