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Take Control

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Partnering with Community Sites

Community sites are great places to support healthy behaviors. In addition to being places where people can learn about nutrition and physical activity through Steps to Health’s nutrition education programs, we can assist community sites in creating environments that encourage and support health and nutrition. Community sites might include public housing developments, community centers, congregate nutrition sites, homeless or domestic violence shelters, out-of-school time program sites, faith-based and work sites. These types of sites may have a broad reach, including community members, staff, residents, people who eat meals at the site, or community members who regularly utilize site amenities.


Taken together, education, PSE, and social marketing changes are more effective than any of these strategies alone for improving health and preventing obesity.

Direct Education

Take Control is an 8 session chronic disease prevention program that provides strategies to help adults manage their health. It informs, empowers, and motivates participants to change their eating and physical activity patterns. The program provides opportunities for participants to track their goals and progress toward healthy eating and physical activity behaviors. Each 1-hour session contains a basic cooking demonstration of a healthy recipe. The recipes and nutrition handouts are provided to program participants. Evaluation of the program is conducted via a pre- and post-behavior survey.

The Eat Smart, Move More, Take Control curriculum was developed by Linda Minges, MPH, RD, LDN, Nicolle Miller, MS, MPH, RD, Carolyn Dunn, Ph.D., RD, Lindsay Goolsby, MS, RD, and Gretchen Hofing, MPH, RD.

Policy, Systems, and Environmental Change (PSE)

PSE initiatives are based on many factors that influence what people eat and how they choose to be active. From access to healthy food to the walkability of communities, people adopt certain heath behaviors for a variety of reasons.

The Building Blocks of a Healthy Community Site

Steps to Health’s PSE Toolkit for community sites can be a great tool to help you get started in your work with community sites like community centers, congregate meal sites, and others.

This toolkit includes everything you need to move through the process of assessment, planning, and implementation of PSE changes with community sites, including training materials to help you partner effectively with organizational leadership, action planning tools and resources, assessment tools, promotional materials and more!

Communities Moving Together: A Guide to Facilitating Community-Led Walk Audits

Walk audits can be a powerful tool for identifying both assets and needs within a community’s built environment, but also for bringing community members together around a shared vision. You might also use a walk audit to build on momentum from PSE work done at the organizational level to expand on changes to the built environment within the broader community. This guide helps communities to assess and enhance their physical environment in places where people live, work, learn, pray, and play, by facilitating community-led walk audits.

In addition to the guide, Steps to Health and Faithful Families developed a series of video modules to highlight steps to planning community-led walk audits. These videos can be utilized to assist local organizations in planning and conducting community-led walk audits to assess the physical environment, walkability, and to increase safety. Additionally, community partners and leaders share successes from their own experiences, demonstrating the positive impacts that walk audits can bring to communities.

Social Marketing

 The Steps to Health text message campaign is a great way to build engagement with community site audiences! Here are some ideas on how to implement this in your community:

  1. Talk with the site to see their interest in helping share this resource. See how they prefer to share information with their community. Do they prefer hard copies to send in a packet, put in mail boxes, or have in a waiting room? If so, share some contact cards with the site. Or if they share information digitally, then choosing from these available graphics may be a better fit. Want to create a custom site graphic? Email 
  2. Does the location have health fairs or events? This is a great time to be available to talk with people one-on-one and walk them through the sign-up process.
  3. If you would like to report how many people in your county signed up as a result of your efforts, email 

Does the community site have a TV in a waiting area or lobby? Steph and Ned Videos are a great way to share some quick tips for healthy eating and active living!

Additional Resources

Already using this toolkit or partnering with a community site? Here are some additional resources you may need:

Steps to Health PSE Reporting and Resources