Action Wheel Leadership

Tackling Obesity

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Using the Action Wheel Method to Improve Health in a Community


In the western suburbs of a large metro area, Dr. John Lamb and his team are pushing ahead with strategies to address obesity in the state.

Tackling Obesity

Many in the state have turned away from obesity as a problem as they cite statistics saying their county has one of the lowest ratings of obesity in the state.

John, however, notes that while this may be true, the statistics also show that the problem still exists. 60-73% of all adults in the county still do not eat the proper amount of vegetables and fruits on any given day.

In addition, 24% do not have sufficient physical activity each day.

John and his steering committee recognize that some gains have been achieved. Yet, this does not equate to success. With a passion to make a difference in their community, John and his team are moving ahead with plans to help the county residents achieve healthy lifestyles.

The county health organization’s (CCHP) mission is to “Improve the health and well being of all who live and work in the County by building communities for a lifetime.” They want to do this by “Creating choices that make eating well and being active fun and easy to do in the County.”

To make this happen the CCHP has been working with the local medical center, the County Health Board, Public Health, and more recently one of the major healthcare systems. Their strategies are governed by the 9 county principles for community engagement. These include community collaboration, the building of trust, awareness of the county history, and the sustainability of the plans.

The plans for moving forward have included the five key conditions for share success as outlined in the Sanford Social Innovation Review. The five key success condition are: Common Agenda, Shared Measurement, Mutually Reinforcing Activities, Continuous Communication, and Backbone Support. Each of these conditions is mapped to an action plan that starts with the steering committee and ends with public will.

CCHP, together with their partners, are committed to making a difference in their community. Success will be measured according to these guidelines:

  • More families out walking and using trails in the county.
  • A new attitude toward successful lifestyles with businesses making decisions with health in mind
  • Increased recreational venues
  • A visual entity that posts papers to bulletin boards and articles in the local newspaper
  • Greater collaboration and the emergence of champions

Project Impact: John was able to apply all that he learned in class to developing a clear and compelling message about the issues of obesity.

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