In a state with high rates of tobacco use and obesity—and associated health problems—University of Kentucky researcher Melinda Ickes is exploring whether similar models of promoting community readiness to adopt health policies might be effective in addressing both risk factors.

Ickes’ current project aims to create political and societal support for physical activitypolicies by building upon the best practices of a successful, evidence-based policy development approach that advanced smoke-free policies in Kentucky.

Specifically, Ickes and her team will test the feasibility of a community readiness assessment for promoting evidence-based physical activity polices in two rural Kentucky communities, Jackson and Perry counties. The project, supported by a pilot grant from the UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS), will focus on policies related to the built environment (such as sidewalks), overall community design, and shared use of schools (after school hours) to increase access to safe space for physical activity.