Missouri State University and Physical Therapy Specialists Clinic, in collaboration with the University Of Missouri Extension Center, are pleased to announce the awarding of the SOARHigh Phase 2 Project, funded by the Missouri Foundation For Health.The SOARHigh Phase 2 Project is a school based, three phase interventional program, which was established based on the initial results of the SOARHigh Phase 1 Project. Phase 1, initiated in 2014 and completed in the Fall of 2015, was a collaborative endeavor of area SOAR Board members. This collection of local educators, professionals and healthcare providers was instrumental in establishing the foundation. Phase I was funded by a grant received from USDA-Rural Development after a 2012-2013 report revealed significant disparities and overall negative health outcomes for area residents. The participating schools for SOARHigh Phase 1 included: Houston, Van Buren, Mountain Grove, Couch, Licking, Koshkonong, Dora, West Plains, Thayer, Eminence, Ava, Faith Christian Academy, Mountain Grove Academy and Mountain Grove Home School Community. The following schools will be participating in the exciting induction of Phase 2: Couch, Dora, Eminence, Houston, Koshkonong, Mountain Grove, Thayer, West Plains and Cabool. Southern Ozarks Alliance for Rural Development (SOAR), along with SCOCOG, PTSC, and OMC became concerned with a variety of regional factors that could adversely affect student health and; therefore, undertook a fact-finding project to assess the state of health for youth within a 7-county area in south-central Missouri. SOARHigh Phase 2 was developed in response to the outcomes determined by Phase I. The findings suggested that 39% of students had high blood pressure, 80% were lacking in proper nutrition, 20% were pre-diabetic and 20% consumed alcohol or smoked. Furthermore, 34% of students were underweight and 15% were obese. According to the data, scarcely 50% of our area students are within normal, healthy weight ranges.
The goal of SOARHigh Phase II will be to address those deficiencies noted in Phase I and implement interventional measures to improve and reduce previously identified health risks, thus paving the way for a healthier, more successful and empowered community. This spring, PTSC will begin working closely with area students and educator staff to create a program that can be easily implemented within the schools to promote positive health habits.The project collaborators include: Dr. Dalen Duitsman (OPHI-MSU), Dr. Joe Hulgus (MSU), Dr. Pam Duitsman(University of Missouri Extension), Jay Chism ( Regional Director for University of Missouri), Mary Sheid (Project Manager), and Ashley Green (Assistant Project Manager and Student Coordinator). The Project also receives support from Howell-Oregon Electric Co-Op, and Walmart of West Plains. This program has the potential to positively influence the health and wellbeing of our youth before they develop physical, emotional and nutritional habits that could negatively impact their futures.