Move Alabama encourages healthy habits, community engagement

Published 10:50 am Friday, April 5, 2024

By Haley Mitchell Godwin

Alabama residents were on the move throughout the month of March as the second annual Move Alabama event, a collaborative effort between the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-ED) and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) at Auburn University, took center stage. 

The initiative, aimed at fostering healthy habits and encouraging Alabamians to incorporate regular exercise into their everyday routines, saw widespread participation across the state.

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Kristin Sanders, SNAP-Ed coordinator for Crenshaw and Pike counties, highlighted the importance of combating physical inactivity, citing its link to various health issues such as obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure. Sanders emphasized that low-income families are particularly at risk and encouraged community members to join the initiative.

“Extension created Move Alabama to provide citizens with the opportunity to get up and get moving with friends, family, and neighbors while exploring the community,” Sanders said. “I’m looking forward to coming up with more fun ideas for pop-up challenges and encouraging more participants to join in on the Move Alabama Challenge next year.”

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System spearheaded the Move Alabama Challenge, urging individuals of all ages to stay active and have fun moving. Participants were tasked with completing 20 out of 25 activities listed on the official Move Alabama flier, which was made available online at the Crenshaw County Extension office and at the Luverne Public Library. Flyers included an activity tracker to monitor progress, alongside a walking and water tracker to encourage movement and hydration.

Local pop-up challenges added an extra layer to the event, offering unique opportunities for community engagement. Among the challenges was the sensory path located along the sidewalk through the butterfly garden at the Luverne Public Library. Participants were encouraged via prompts now painted on the pathway, to enjoy some physical activity while immersing themselves in a classic book, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”

The success of past initiatives, like the chalk walk at the Luverne Public Library during the first Move Alabama Challenge, inspired ongoing community engagement efforts. The sensory path, now a permanent feature at the library, led to the installation of the Story Walk along the walking trail at Turner’s Park. 

Additional pop-up challenges, like the chalk walk at Wayne Enzor Park in Lapine, Alabama, during Crenshaw County’s spring break, provided residents with accessible and engaging opportunities for physical activity.

Jody Foote, assistant director at the Luverne Public Library, emphasized the impact of interactive activities on children’s development, highlighting the simplicity and effectiveness of initiatives like the book walk.

“The group I saw come to the Book Walk was the Mommy & Me group [which meets Tuesdays from 10:30 – 11 a.m. at the library],” Foote said. “The children were all very engaged. It was clear to see that you do not need something over the top that is complicated to catch the children’s attention and hold it, and provide a way for them to truly learn. It is the simpler interactive activities that usually fully catch their attention and make a difference in their development.”

“For more information on extension programs, contact the Crenshaw County Extension office at (334) 335-6312. For details on the various programs offered by the library, call (334) 335-5326.”