LITTLE ROCK – Healthy Active Arkansas (HAA), the state’s 10-year framework to increase the percentage of children, adolescents and adults who are at a healthy weight, held a press event recently at the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub in North Little Rock to showcase its new website,

The website, designed and developed by Perch, Inc. and funded by a Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas grant, features descriptions of each of HAA’s nine priority areas, resources for individuals, community leaders, educators and other stakeholders, as well as an interactive map, progress tracker and news section. The site, which features a clean, straightforward design, will serve as a mechanism for connecting people with the resources and organizations that can help make healthy eating and physical activity more accessible.

Stephanie Williams, RNP, MPH, Deputy Director for Public Health Programs at the Arkansas Department of Health opened the event by recognizing members of the HAA Operations Team in attendance.

“We at the Department of Health are invested in the success and support of Healthy Active Arkansas with a shared goal of increasing the percentage of children, adolescents and adults who are at a healthy weight,” Williams said.

The event also served as an opportunity to highlight some of the other projects that supported HAA’s Priority 7: Sugar Sweetened Beverage Reduction, and were funded by the Blue & You Foundation grant the Arkansas Department of Health received in 2017.

“In addition to the HAA website, this grant allowed ADH to add two questions about sugar-sweetened beverage consumption on the 2017 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, which is a national survey that collects state data on a wide range of health-related risk factors, chronic health conditions and preventive services,” Marisha DiCarlo, PhD, MPH, Healthy Active Arkansas Interim Executive Manager and Marketing Lead, and Director of Communications at the Arkansas Department of Health, said.

“This is the first time we have collected data on sugar-sweetened beverage consumption in adults in Arkansas, and these data will serve as a baseline for which Healthy Active Arkansas can measure progress going forward,” DiCarlo added.

The BRFSS data will be released to ADH later this year and will provide insight into the number of sugar-sweetened beverages—the number one source of excess calories in most diets—adults in Arkansas drink each day. HAA will use this data to inform efforts that reduce the consumption of sugary beverages. Currently, HAA is encouraging people of all ages to drink fewer sugary drinks by promoting the Rethink Your Drink Toolkit, the printing of which was also supported with funding from the Blue & You Foundation.

Troy Wells, Baptist Health CEO and HAA Board Chair, closed the event by recognizing fellow board members and the value of HAA’s public and private sector partnerships in implementing HAA’s framework across the state. He also took the opportunity to encourage participation in this year’s Blue & You Fitness Challenge, as well as encourage hospitals to engage in Healthy Active Arkansas to promote lifelong healthy weight.

Healthy Active Arkansas is a nonprofit whose mission is to increase the number of Arkansans at a healthy weight. There are nine priority areas that include evidence-based strategies that impact the health of the state.