Extension trying to make Alabama healthier

Published 7:30 pm Monday, January 28, 2019

Driving through Valley on any given day, one might notice colorful billboards with smiling faces, pictures of fruits and vegetables and reminders to “Eat better” or “Choose water.”

These billboards are a part of the Live Well Alabama program, a product of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System at Auburn University and their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program- Education, or SNAP-Ed.

The newest Live Well Alabama billboard is on Fob James Drive, and its high-traffic location is key in getting its message across to those who could learn more about living a healthier lifestyle, according to Extension Specialist Katie Funderburk.

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“Our goal is to provide nutrition education and obesity prevention initiatives for Alabamians who are eligible for SNAP,” she said. “Our focus is on helping particularly low-income areas or families with a limited food budget to make healthier choices.”

SNAP-Ed works with schools, clubs and organizations to help people integrate better food and more exercise into their daily activities. Started in 2017, Live Well Alabama is Auburn University’s social initiative to bring SNAP values to more and more people.

The Live Well billboards are the physical aspect of the campaign which, when paired with their social media presence, acts as part of the extension’s publicity push to fight obesity in Alabama. With the adult obesity rate at 36.3 percent, the state sits fifth overall in obesity, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Funderburk said that as more people in the know about SNAP and the other extension efforts, the state will be healthier as a whole.

“Those billboards are to establish the program as recognizable and a trustworthy place for nutrition information,” she said.

“The ultimate goal of SNAP-ED is to improve the quality of life for Alabamians by reducing and preventing obesity.”

The Chambers County Extension Office in LaFayette can be contacted at (334) 864-9373 and can be visited online at offices.aces.edu/chambers.