Local Strategies for Physical Activity and Nutrition

The Local Strategies for Physical Activity and Nutrition (LSPAN) grant focuses on creating policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) change in communities to encourage healthy nutrition guidelines, support breastfeeding-friendly environments, improve nutrition and active play in early learning systems, and implement activity-friendly built environments. The Kittitas County Public Health Department is one of five recipients of this grant funding in Washington State.

PSE change is a strategy that Public Health uses to help create settings in our community that encourage healthy behavior and choices. This approach can create sustainable, population level change.

KCPHD will work on four different projects in Kittitas County as a part of the LSPAN grant.

Breastfeeding Friendly Workplaces Project

KCPHD is offering support and guidance to local employers to implement Washington State’s breastfeeding accommodation requirements, and to create additional optional policies and procedures to create a breastfeeding friendly workplace. At this time we are focusing specifically on supporting Kittitas County’s fast food establishments. Information on initial work done with fast food restaurants can be found in the Breastfeeding Accommodation Survey Results Report.

We know that breastfeeding friendly workplaces benefit both employees and employers! There are many success stories. Find out how a fast food restaurant offers lactation break time, space and support for their employees here.

Project partners include the Kittitas County Breastfeeding Coalition and the Kittitas County Chamber of Commerce .

Benefits for Mothers and Infants

Breastfeeding is considered the clinical “gold standard” for infant nutrition. Many health agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control, recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first is six months, and breastfeeding with complementary foods for a year or longer.

For babies, breastfeeding health benefits include:

  • Reduced risk for asthma, obesity, allergies, and Type II diabetes
  • Fewer ear and respiratory infections
  • Lower risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • Increased cognitive and motor development
  • Increased bonding between mother and infant

For mothers, breastfeeding health benefits include:

  • Reduced postpartum hemorrhage
  • Reduced risk for heart disease, Type II diabetes, ovarian and breast cancer
  • Birth spacing
  • Increased bonding between mother and infant

Benefits for Employers

Supporting breastfeeding employees is good business! We know that breastfeeding friendly employers see a return on investment, including:

  • Retention of experienced employees;
  • Reduction in sick time taken by both moms and dads for children’s illnesses;
  • Higher company loyalty and employee morale; and
  • Lower health care and insurance costs.

Resources for Employers

In July 2019, the Washington State Legislature put into place new breastfeeding accommodation requirements for employers, adding to the federal accommodation requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). RCW 43.10.005 requires employers of 15 or more employees to provide pregnancy and breastfeeding related accommodations, including

  • Providing reasonable break time each time an employee has a need to express breast milk for two (2) years after the child’s birth.
  • Providing a private location that is NOT a bathroom and shielded from view and free from any intrusion from co-workers or the public.

View our Breastfeeding Accommodations Overview.

Resources for Breastfeeding Employees

Employees’ Guide to Breastfeeding and Working
This guide helps pregnant and breastfeeding moms prepare for and navigate returning to work and expressing milk at work. Practical tips include how to approach your supervisor, dealing with coworkers, and sample pumping schedules.

Kittitas County Breastfeeding Coalition
Coalition members represent local breastfeeding experts who can offer support, guidance, and recommendations to help prepare for returning to work or who are back at work and need support to continue expressing milk.

Understand Your Rights
Washington State has new breastfeeding accommodation requirements that go beyond federal law. Review these at RCW 43.10.005. If you feel that an employer has failed to meet these requirements, you can contact the Civil Rights Division of the Attorney General’s Office for more information.

Activity Friendly Environment

What is an Activity Friendly Environment?

Activity Friendly Environments are settings where people of all ages and abilities can be physically active on a routine, daily basis. This means being able to easily walk or bike to stores, banks, movie theaters, schools, etc., as well as enjoy these and other forms of recreation within one’s own community.

Active People, Healthy Nation

The Active People, Health Nation is a national initiative from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It aims to help Americans become more active by the year 2027 through a variety of strategies and resources. KCPHD will be utilizing these tools in our work. More information can be found on the CDC’s website.

Future Projects

Food Service Guidelines in the Emergency Food System

KCPHD plans to partner with FISH Community Food Bank to work with emergency food system providers on incorporating nutrition guidelines into their program policies and operations. These guidelines will be based on the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans created by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. KCPHD will also work closely with SNAP-Ed (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education) and other community nutrition experts.

Nutrition and Active Play in Childcare

KCPHD plans to partner with the local Headstart provider, the Kittitas County Early Learning Coalition, the Ellensburg School District, and other local childcare providers to enhance nutrition guidelines and active play in early learning settings. Work will be based on the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans and 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.