University of Missouri Extension launches community health program

University of Missouri Extension will kick off its Strength in Numbers community health initiative in Clay and Platte counties on the 3rd Thursday of every month for six months to encourage healthy lifestyle choices beginning Jan. 16 from 7 to 8 p.m.

The meetings will be conducted online through Zoom calls.

Strength in Numbers is a research-based program that teaches participants of any age how to improve their overall health and well-being. It focuses on nutrition and physical activity as well as the health effects of stress and chronic conditions in one-hour lessons.

Strength in Numbers leaders team up with other community programs-such as service clubs or church groups-to create supportive “health families” that participate in behavior-changing lessons and set goals for a healthier lifestyle. Group members area source of support and accountability to each other as they set goals and practice healthy habits. Research has shown that people who know they will be held accountable for their actions have a higher success rate in achieving their goals.

In a pilot study, Strength in Numbers participants improved their eating and exercise habits after one year in the program.

The percentage of pilot program participants who said they regularly eat healthy foods rose from 39 percent to 53 percent.

Additionally, the percentage of pilot program participants who participated in muscle-strength exercises rose from 66 percent to 76 percent.

Registration in the upcoming Strength in Numbers program is open until Jan. 15. To sign up, call 407-3490 or email Amy Vance, nutrition and health education specialist, at

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