HCD Projects of Interest

Generation Health Food and Values Survey


A pilot study called “Generation Health: A Qualitative Exploration of Food and Value System in Douglas County,” explores Douglas County residents’ view of food and nutrition in the context of health and wellbeing. The project will examine the perceptions of residents across three generations: children, parents, and grandparents. As caregivers, their values, attitudes, and cultural preferences for nutrition are passed down.

According to the Child Policy Research Center at the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality, currently 28% of adults in Douglas County are obese. Obesity is starting at a young age where already 17.5% of low-income preschoolers are obese. Understanding how to best change the lives of Douglas County residents begins with hearing their voice. There are a number of problems already in the area including the lack of fitness centers (1 per 10,000 people), farmers’ markets (0 per 10,000 people), and the little number of places accepting nutritional benefits programs. There are 6.1 grocery stores per 10,000 people, but only 1.5 stores per 10,000 people accept WIC. More places accept SNAP (8.2 stores per 10,000 people), but because this number exceeds the number of grocery stores it suggests that some residents must use other venues as a nutritional supplement including gas stations and convenience stores.

This project will provide a comprehensive picture of family health and give families in Douglas County better strategies to achieve adequate nutrition. Drawing on the insights generated by this study, SIU Medicine’s Population Science and Policy will collaborate with Douglas County Health Department (DCHD) to help Douglas County articulate critical needs in the community and advance innovative initiatives based on cross-sector collaboration.

Project Lead
Nicole Summers, PhD

PSP Team Members
Tracie Johnson, Rosey Brown, Yuri Fedorovich, Amanda Fogleman

Douglas County Health Department

Arcola CUSD #306

Yoder’s Restaurant

The project has five objectives: (1) to learn about residents’ current diet; (2) to better understand residents’ access/ barriers to food; (3) to understand residents’ knowledge about nutrition, (4) to explore residents’ perspectives on how health and well-being relate to perceptions of food, and (5) to increase community buy-in about the importance of adequate nutrition. The purpose behind these objectives is to develop foundational knowledge to launch a community-informed program for the health and well-being of residents.

In Phase I of the project, funds will be used to examine residents’ knowledge and perceptions of nutrition.

In Phase II of the project, funds will cover hands-on age-appropriate activities, such as creating illustrated stories, to socialize positive attitudes toward nutrition and provide knowledge to residents about how to overcome local barriers.