Strong4Life Movement Making Waves in Public Health

September 29, 2014

September is National Childhood Obesity Prevention Month. And what better time to showcase the childhood obesity prevention efforts of the Georgia Department of Public Health’s (DPH) Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and Georgia SHAPE!

Recently, Georgia’s First Lady Sandra Deal visited the Fulton County Health Department’s Boulevard WIC Clinic to learn about Georgia WIC and the Stong4Life WIC initiative. A collaborative of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA), DPH’s Georgia WIC and Georgia SHAPE programs, Strong4Life aims to reduce obesity rates in children across the state and improve their healthy habits through childhood obesity counseling and goal setting.

To accomplish the goals of this initiative, WIC counselors are being trained on patient centered counseling concepts to facilitate behavior change and the incorporation of healthy choices. Counselors are also taught how to apply the 5A’s (Assess, Advise, Agree, Assist and Arrange) counseling technique during interactions with patients and families, and learning how to effectively use the components of the WIC Provider Toolkit to set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals with participants of the WIC program.

Through motivational interviewing, WIC counselors can more effectively counsel and speak to participants about obesity and healthy habits. Fulton County participated in the Strong4Life Provider Program and adopted the counseling strategy at the Boulevard WIC Center. The Strong4Life training is now being provided and the advanced counseling skills are being implemented in WIC clinics across the state.

While visiting the Boulevard WIC center, First Lady Deal had the opportunity to tour the center and share in a potential WIC participant’s experience as she was given a guided tour of the facility. While visiting the WIC lab room, she saw where participants’ height, weight and hemoglobin are assessed. After leaving the lab, she was taken to the breastfeeding counseling room where she learned about the breastfeeding peer counseling program. The last stop of the tour provided First Lady Deal with a mini-course in “Vouchers 101” as she learned about processing and receiving vouchers and the components of WIC vouchers. Greta Sebestyen, RD, CLC, at the WIC Boulevard Center also walked her through the Georgia WIC Approved Foods List.

“I am incredibly honored that First Lady Deal visited the Boulevard WIC center,” said Sebestyen. “She has been hands on working with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Georgia SHAPE to help kids be healthy. I think the tour helped her better understand how WIC serves our community.”

For more information about the Strong4Life WIC initiative, contact your local health department. To see footage from the tour, tune in to Fulton County Government TV on Oct.6.

About the Author

You might like...

November 30, 2017

The American Public Health Association (APHA) has awarded the WIC on Wheels program, in the West Central Health District, with the Milton and Ruth Roemer Prize. This award was presented to Beverley Townsend, M.D., health director for the West Central Health District, during APHA’s annual meeting in Atlanta.

May 4, 2015

The Georgia Department of Public Health’s (DPH) LaGrange Health District is cooking up healthy, affordable and delicious meals for local families through Cooking Matters, a program led by Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign.

Spearheading the Cooking Matters program, managed by the Georgia Coalition for Physical Activity and Nutrition (GPAN), is Health Promotion Coordinator Beth Daniel. Daniel has partnered with GPAN to train WIC nutritionists and dietetic interns on healthy shopping and cooking skills they can impart to their program participants.

March 30, 2015

Want to know if good health and quality of life are in your future? No need to call a psychic or have your palm read; simply consult your nearest registered dietitian (RD) to discuss your eating pattern.