Healthy Steps for Families Lay Health Educator Manual

The Healthy Steps for Families Demonstration Project was implemented by the Canyon Ranch Center for Prevention and Health Promotion in collaboration with the Canyon Ranch Institute, Child-Parent Centers, Inc., and Family Literacy programs in Pima and Cochise Counties, Arizona.

The Healthy Steps for Families Lay Health Educator Manual provides all the information to deliver the Healthy Steps for Families curriculum, which is designed to help parents become better role models for their children around issues related to health and wellness. With chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease posing a clear and immediate threat to children, more needs to be done to help children begin their lives by taking steps toward developing healthy eating and exercising habits. The curriculum aims to influence children’s behavior where it is first learned, in the home. We provide parents with strategies that help them to become healthier role models. These strategies include walking more, playing outside with their children, cooking with less fat, and ensuring fruits and vegetables are part of every meal. When parents adopt those practices, they are building a foundation for a healthier life for themselves and for their children. This foundation of healthy habits makes for healthy parents and provides children with a blueprint for healthy living that can last a lifetime and lead to a long-term reductions in chronic disease.

The curriculum consists of 12 two-and-a-half-hour interactive sessions where parents participate in physical activities, hands-on cooking demonstrations, attend health education sessions, and join walking groups. All project components are grounded in the best practices of health literacy. They are easy to understand, interactive, and appropriate to the cultural and linguistic abilities of the participants.

Healthy Steps for Families is an adaptation of the Pasos Adelante (Steps Forward) Spanish language curriculum. Pasos Adelante is an adaption of Su Corazon, Su Vida (Your Heart, Your Life) curriculum from the National Institute of Health-National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, that was designed to enhance chronic disease prevention and control in an older population. Pasos Adelante was first adapted, piloted, and evaluated in border communities of Southern Arizona. The curriculum was further adapted to include parenting issues related to food and physical activity and to target a younger population in Tucson.