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Colleges Team Up to Produce Arkansas Health Issues Programs


JONESBORO — Arkansas State University’s College of Media and Communication and the College of Nursing and Health Professions have joined forces to produce a series of programs titled "Your State of Health" that focus on health issues important to the state of Arkansas.

The first program, “Good Nutrition,” will air on ASU-TV, Suddenlink Channel 18, Wednesday, April 13, at 5 p.m. and will continue throughout the summer.

The program series is the brainchild of Dr. Susan Hanrahan, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions, and Dr. Michael Bowman, assistant professor of Creative Media Production. They visited about the possibility of a student production of the program series following Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson’s announcement of a statewide plan to improve health of all Arkansans, Oct. 14, 2015. The programs align with initiatives by Gov. Hutchinson to improve Arkansans’ health. In fact, the broadcast “Good Nutrition” includes a recorded message from Hutchinson at the beginning.

“Everyone can do something to improve his or her state of health,” stated Hanrahan. “These programs should give you specific ideas of things that are very doable in your day-to-day activities. You only have one mind and one body—let’s make them healthy and keep them strong for as long as humanly possible.”

The series “Your State of Health” was recorded in the ASU-TV Studio.  The program is hosted by current Media and Communication student Kirsten Pieri-May and produced by Kaitlyn DeFord.  Former student Jade Allen directed the program.

“The collaboration between the Colleges of Nursing and Health Professions, and Media and Communication provides an opportunity for students to be involved in a production that will help improve the health of people in Arkansas,” said Bowman.

“Healthy Active Arkansas” is the name of Hutchinson's plan and has nine areas linked to bettering the health of Arkansas’s population through increased physical activity and good dietary choices. After discussions among health leaders, the initiative to lead efforts to reduce obesity and improve health emerged as a major portion of the plan. 

The nine areas are physical and built environment; nutritional standards in government, institutions and the private sector; nutritional standards in schools—early child care through college; healthy worksites; access to healthy foods; sugar-sweetened beverage reduction; breastfeeding; and a marketing program. Action and strategies for each area are organized into tiers that suggest the number of years in which an action step might be accomplished. The plan may be accessed at www.healthyactive.org.

“A healthy, active Arkansas is important to me as governor,” said Gov. Hutchinson at the press conference to announce the plan. “This is not a public service announcement; this is an objective I have for my time as governor that is important to measure the outcome and progress. It’s an important issue to me as an unhealthy Arkansas is an expensive habit for the taxpayer. Forty percent of health care cost on obesity-related illnesses is public dollars that are spent. 

“It’s not just a taxpayer’s dollar to us that makes a difference to whether we have a healthy Arkansas or not.  It’s also a workforce issue. We recruit industry to this state, and they are looking at their work force, their ability to show up and work hard, their absenteeism record; but also, are they going to incur health expenses that are going to up the cost of private health insurance? So, a healthy active Arkansas makes a difference when recruiting industry. It’s also a quality of life issue. We need to provide the means and leadership and encouragement so Arkansans can have the quality of life that they desire.”


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