UofL nursing scholar serving to enhance entry to wholesome meals in Perry County

The challenge for the healthiest cities and counties. The project is supervised by UofL professor Frances Hardin-Fanning

Paige Newquist, a graduate of the UofL School of Nursing, is committed to improving access to healthy food in Perry County, Kentucky.

Paige Newquist, a graduate of the UofL School of NursingPaige Newquist, a graduate of the UofL School of Nursing, is committed to improving access to healthy food in Perry County, Kentucky.

Newquist and Nikki Enlow, graphic design students at Hazard Community College, launched a public health information campaign as part of the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge. The project is overseen by UofL Professor Frances Hardin-Fanning and sponsored by the Aetna Foundation, the American Public Health Association, and the National Association of Counties.

Newquist, a researcher, also works as a physical therapist at UofL Hospital and has been an active member of the UofL COVID vaccination team. She will graduate in May 2022 and plans to work in orthopedic nursing in Louisville. She uses her skills from her undergraduate research courses to review scientific evidence on the health effects of food, which guides her work with the Perry County program.

As part of the awareness campaign, Newquist posts information about various fruits and vegetables on the Perry County’s Facebook page every week. For example: “Garlic can be made into an extract and has been effective in lowering blood pressure in people with uncontrolled high blood pressure. Garlic can help improve the flexibility of our artery, resulting in lower blood pressure, improved heart health, improved aerobic fitness, and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. “

The Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge is a grant-funded project that aims to improve access to foods that support healthy eating habits. Perry County, in eastern Kentucky, has an adult obesity rate of 47% – 12 percentage points higher than the Kentucky average of 35%. 74 percent of adults who live in Perry County are overweight, and only 10 percent are getting the recommended intake of fruits and vegetables. The Aetna Foundation awarded the grant to Perry County in July 2020.

UofL’s School of Nursing also leads the Food & Faith Coalition, a partnership with two other organizations. In addition to improving access, the coalition aims to improve food security reviews, increase retailer donations to nonprofit food programs, and improve the networking of 16 county organizations that provide food to community members.

For more information on Newquist’s work on this project, please visit the UofL School of Nursing website here.

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