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A group of adults and children ride bicycles in a parking lot.
Figure 18.1 Families learn bike maintenance and safety and practice biking skills during a community program designed to increase physical activity through biking. (credit: modification of work “Morro Bay Bike Ed” by Bike SLO County/Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Jamie, a public health nurse, has been charged with planning an innovative, evidence-based program targeting children and families to promote physical activity. The county health department received grant funding to plan, implement, and evaluate a new physical activity program. A community health assessment (CHA) conducted before receipt of the grant indicated that the county has high adult and child overweight and obesity rates, low physical activity levels, sedentary lifestyles, and a lack of free physical activity resources. The CHA and community health improvement team have identified chronic disease–obesity as a major priority in the county. Assessment, diagnosis, and community-level planning have been completed. Jamie must now plan a program to meet the physical activity needs of children and families.

Nurses like Jamie develop community health programs to promote health and prevent disease. Effective programs are grounded in community assessment and health determinant data, target identified populations at risk, reduce health disparities and inequities, promote collaboration between groups invested in the community’s health, and incorporate evidence-based strategies. Theoretical frameworks and models support the program planning, implementation, and evaluation process.

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