Kent County Healthy Eating
Active Living Taskforce

The Kent County Health Department serves as the back-bone organization for implementation of the Kent County Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA).  The 2017 CHNA ranked obesity and poor nutrition as one of three priority areas. The Healthy Eating Active Living Taskforce is a multi-sectoral coalition comprised of major health systems, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC), education, community-based organizations, neighborhood groups, local government, non-profits, health and fitness centers, voluntary health organizations, and faith-based, and hunger-relief organizations.  Based on the 2017 CHNA and the surveys that support the data, the HEAL Taskforce identified African American and Hispanic/Latinx populations as having the highest needs for intervention, which are residents living within the “Hope Zones.”

In Kent County, previous studies such as the Invest Health report have indicated that the urban areas of Grand Rapids and Wyoming, predominantly zip codes 49503, 05, 06, 07, 08, and 09 are facing issues related to basic needs stemming from inequities within these neighborhoods.  Issues such as affordable housing, safety, transportation-related issues, lower graduation rates, low-incomes, single head of household families, decreased healthy food access, and higher crime statistics based on address alone. These zip-codes represent the “Hope Zones”, which closely parallel higher need school districts.

The HEAL Taskforce has been working collaboratively since the 2014 CHNA/CHIP. One of the major strategies of the previous action plan was to develop and disseminate a multi-media campaign. This campaign was based upon the MI Daily Plan for a Healthier Tomorrow state campaign.  Wanting to create a localized message that would resonate with our highest risk residents, we chose a community-centered design firm that vetted messaging, terms, and ‘look’ of the campaign with neighbors and community within the “Hope Zones.” This campaign uses local individuals and families sharing their wisdom for ‘getting real, getting healthy’. The HEAL Taskforce leveraged community promotion dollars through the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) grant to co-market the Get Real campaign.  Members of the HEAL Taskforce committed to sharing the resources of the campaign through their organizational messaging/media/promotions and compliments the American Heart Association (AHA) campaign, ‘Rethink Your Drink’

Our Goals

  • Increase the proportion of Kent County residents who are at a healthy weight (defined by BMI between 18.5 and 24.9)
  • (NWS-9: Reduce the proportion of adults who are obese)
  • 1% Kent County adults are considered obese (BMI 30 or greater) compared to 32.5% in Sate of Michigan (Kent County BRFSS, 2017).
  • 5% Black middle school youth are obese; 19.8% Latino high school youth are obese (CDC YRBS, 2015).
Healthy Eating Active Living Logo

Kent County
HEAL Partners

  • MI Good Food Charter
  • Kent County Food Policy Council
  • Healthy Kids, Healthy MI
  • Non-motorized Transportation Committee Safety Committee

Get Involved

We invite you to join HEAL Taskforce Participating Members in this important work by contacting, Jill Myer at 616-632-7272 or