Consistent with its overall mission “to improve the health status of Central Louisiana,” The Rapides Foundation’s Healthy Behaviors Initiative addresses important health behaviors including tobacco use, overweight/obesity, and substance and alcohol abuse prevention.
Poor diet, physical inactivity and the use of tobacco are health behaviors directly linked to premature death and disability from heart disease, stroke, diabetes, certain types of cancer, and arthritis. Illicit use of drugs is associated with serious consequences including injury, illness, disability, and death as well as crime, domestic violence and lost workplace productivity. Each year, about 100,000 deaths in the United States are related to alcohol consumption.
Evidence suggests that an integrated, comprehensive, multi-level, multi-target initiative to focus on these important health behaviors is crucial to the long-term success of the program, including having a meaningful impact on chronic disease prevention in the region. For that reason, the Foundation’s Healthy Behaviors Initiative includes work in the schools, communities and workplaces; policy and advocacy; and a strong counter marketing component.