Community Health Education Division
Health Education (704-853-5118) keeps a focus on prevention. A team of health educators plan and implement group programs to prevent and mitigate teen pregnancy, obesity, poor nutrition and seddentary lifestyles. These programs work to prevent illness and promote good health in Gaston County by educating the public on how to avoid risks and form healthy habits. Depending on the program, services may be available to individuals, small or large groups. Please call the designated number for more information on any program.
Health Promotion (704-862-6134) educators focus on helping the people of Gaston County live a healthier life by working for community and government policies that make it easier for people to make healthy choices, and by promoting healthy, active lifestyles and healthy behaviors.
The Gaston County Fitness and Nutrition Council (704-862-6134) prevents disease by helping the community exercise more and eat healthy foods. The council is comprised of local health and fitness experts who plan and conduct programs to promote healthy eating and physical activity. By focusing on policy and environmental changes, the Council promotes new community standards for lifelong activity and good nutrition.
Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less (704-862-6134) is a weight-management program that uses strategies proven to work. Each lesson informs, empowers and motivates participants to live mindfully as they make choices about eating and physical activity. The program provides opportunities for participants to track their progress and keep a journal of healthy eating and physical activity behaviors. The program can be offered to worksites and other groups interested in eating smart, moving more and achieving a healthy weight.
Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less is a 15-week weight-management program that uses strategies proven to work. Each lesson informs, empowers and motivates you to live mindfully as you make choices about eating and physical activity.
The Child Care Health Consultation (704-862-6116) program provides assistance to more than 100 child care facilities that serve more than 3,700 children each day. The consultant visits these facilities to observe operating procedures and to offer training, solutions and hands-on support for improvement. Training topics include proper sanitation procedures to prevent the spread of disease and prevention of SIDS. The Child Care Health Consultant also screens records to ensure that each child has up-to-date immunizations, physical exams and that plans have been made to address any special needs of enrolled children.
Girls on the Run of Gaston County (704-862-5341) helps young women build their confidence and self-esteem, learn to resist peer pressure, and develop skills so they will make safe and healthy decisions during their teen years. Through non-competitive running after school, participants increase their physical and emotional fitness during the 12-week program, and complete a 5K run together at the end of the program. Through group discussions, physical activity, and a community service project, girls learn about their personal assets, set goals, and learn communication skills to make healthy decisions. Two programs are provided: Girls on the Run (ages 8-11) and Girls on Track (ages12-14).
Teen Pregnancy Prevention (704-862-5405) staff implement a variety of educational programs for youth, parents and professionals who work with youth. These programs are designed to impact the county's teen pregnacy rate. Current programs are as follows:
Making a Difference! An Abstinence-Based Approach to Prevention of STDs, HIV and Teen Pregnancy (704-862-5372) is an eight-part curriculum that provides youth with the knowledge, confidence and skills necessary to reduce their risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), HIV and pregnancy by abstaining from sex. To reduce STD/HIV and pregnancy risk-related behaviors, youth need not only knowledge, but positive attitudes and beliefs regarding abstinence and confidence in their ability to abstain from sex. The Making a Difference program is designed to meet those needs. Specifically, this curriculum emphasizes that youth should postpone sexual activity and that practicing abstinence is the only way to eliminate the risk for pregnancy and STDs, including HIV.
Making Proud Choices! (704-862-5405) is a safer sex program for middle and high school youth. This program will give youth the knowledge, confidence, and skills necessary to reduce their risk of STIs, HIV, and pregnancy by abstaining from sexual activity or using condoms if they chose to have sex. This program teaches self-responsibility, refusal skills, available contraceptive methods, and reproductive health and safety. This program includes nine hours of instruction (in 2-3 sessions) and is offered monthly at the Health Department or can be conducted by request at other locations.
Parents Matter! (704-862-5374) helps parents improve their skills and increase their comfort level when talking to their children about sexual topics and sexual risk reduction. This program, which is primarily for parents and guardians of children ages 9-12 years old, does not tell parents what to say to their children, but instead gives parents the knowledge, skills, and comfort to communicate their own values and expectations about sexuality and sexual behaviors to their children. It also helps parents provide their children with important messages about HIV/AIDS, STDs, and pregnancy prevention. The goal of this program is to help parents provide accurate and reliable health information to their kids. The program meets once a week for 5 weeks and is free to the public. For more information or to find out when the next program will be offered, call 704-862-5374.
Sex Education Workshop for Professionals (704-862-5405) is designed for professionals who interact with pre-teens or teens. This workshop provides information on puberty, reproductive health, STIs, HIV/AIDS, and teen pregnancy. This workshop will help prepare professionals to use effective, positive communication when answering questions and talking with young people about sexual issues. This four-hour workshop is offered quarterly at the Health Department or can be conducted by request at other locations.
TOP Teens, the Teen Outreach Program (704-862-5360) is a nationally recognized curriculum that helps teens avoid pregnancy and set personal goals. The program's primary goals are to promote healthy behavior among young people, help them learn life skills, and build a sense of purpose through community service and life goals. Youth ages 12-14 meet once a week after school to explore issues and questions surrounding relationships, values, self-image, decision-making, assertive communication, goal setting, adolescent development and sexuality. Like TOP Teens on Facebook!
Teen Parenting Program (704-862-5406) is a program for girls ages 19 and younger who are currently pregnant or parenting one child, enrolled in school, and reside in Gaston County. This peer group shares information, resources, and support to encourage staying in school, acquiring job skills, improving parenting abilities, preventing child abuse and neglect, and delaying future pregnancies. This program is conducted at the Health Department and includes monthly home visits, educational group meetings, and fun field trips for participants.
Nutrition Services (704-853-5100) provide education, assessments, nutrition counseling, and medical nutritional therapy to Health Department clients. When prescribed by a doctor, therapeutic diet counseling is available to children and pediatric patients.
WIC, or the Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants, and Children (704-853-5100) provides education and vouchers for nutritious foods to women who are pregnant, have recently delivered babies, are breastfeeding, and for their children up to age 5. WIC also offers education and support to breastfeeding women. Women must meet medical and financial criteria to receive WIC benefits.
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This institution is an equal opportunity provider.