#VegTogether Promotes Healthy Eating in Central Louisiana

Alexandria, LouisianaThe Rapides Foundation partnered with The Public Good Projects to kick off a media campaign to promote health and prevent chronic disease in Central Louisiana. The #VegTogether campaign encourages consumers to eat vegetables at least three times a day.

While addressing Central Louisiana, the #VegTogether campaign is also serving as a project of A Healthy America, a national movement using prevention and the power of the media to solve our nation’s greatest health problems. A Healthy America is led by The Public Good Projects, a nonprofit organization of media, marketing, and public health experts.

The #VegTogether campaign is funded by The Rapides Foundation, a grantmaking organization with the mission to improve the health status of Central Louisiana. The campaign is part of The Rapides Foundation’s Healthy Behaviors Initiative, which addresses important health behaviors including healthy eating, physical activity, tobacco use prevention and control, and substance/alcohol abuse prevention in order to promote health and prevent chronic disease. The foundation serves a nine parish area of Central Louisiana which consists of Allen, Avoyelles, Catahoula, Grant, LaSalle, Natchitoches, Rapides, Vernon and Winn parishes.   

The #VegTogether campaign will include messages on broadcast and cable television, traditional and Internet radio, newspaper inserts, a variety of websites and social media platforms, and in grocery stores. The #VegTogether website will include videos, vegetable prep tips, and health facts related to vegetable consumption.

“The Foundation’s Healthy Behaviors Initiative includes a focus on eating nutritionally balanced food because we understand how development of healthier behaviors can prevent illness and premature death,” said Joe Rosier, President and CEO of The Rapides Foundation. “Our partnership with The Public Good Projects to develop the #VegTogether awareness campaign provides an important tool in helping people move to a healthier lifestyle.”

In the United States, the leading causes of death are heart disease, stroke, and cancer – all diseases that eating more vegetables may prevent. Rates of these heart disease, stroke, and cancer are higher in Louisiana than in the United States as a whole.

More than four in five Americans do not eat enough vegetables, making vegetables the most under-consumed of all recommended foods. In The Rapides Foundation’s nine-parish Central Louisiana service area, only 30 percent of adults eat three or more servings of vegetables a day according to the Foundation’s 2013 Community Health Assessment.

"Consumers are overwhelmed by the marketing of junk food," said Ruth Wooden, CEO of The Public Good Projects. "#VegTogether will use the marketing tactics proven effective by big brand food marketers to counter their efforts by promoting a healthy diet through the mass media."

Development of the #VegTogether campaign included feedback and collaboration from an Advisory Group made up of state and regional health organizations and community partners including: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation; Food Bank of Central La.; Fresh Central; Keller Enterprises; LSU Ag Center; Market Umbrella; Region VI Louisiana Office of Public Health; Pennington Biomedical Research Center; and Southern Ag Center.

The #VegTogether campaign launched on April 7, 2016. Messages will be aired for approximately three months. The key audience for the campaign is women ages 25-44 who are the primary food planners and preparers for their households. The effectiveness of the campaign will be evaluated with surveys of adults in the region.

To learn about the #VegTogether campaign, see the videos, and download veggie prep tips, visit www.VegTogether.org.