PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) –The Healthy Start Loving Steps Community Action Network (CAN) will host a Baby Buggy Walk in the parking lot of the Petersburg Health Department located at 301 Halifax Street in Petersburg on Friday, October 28.
The walk is an effort to recognize the important roles parents and the community play in promoting healthier birth outcomes in Petersburg.
This free family walk and informational meeting will take place from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Although the national and state infant mortality rates are declining, rates still remain high in Petersburg, particularly among African American residents.
In 2013, African American infants in Petersburg had a mortality rate of 10.4 deaths per 1,000 live births – more than the national average for all races.
“Every baby deserves a chance to have a healthy life. It takes the whole community to make sure they have the opportunity for a healthy start,” said Outreach Community Development Specialist Jennifer Murphy-James.
Planning for a healthy baby begins long before a mother sees her baby’s face for the very first time.
Continuous prenatal care, healthy eating, physical activity, a healthy lifestyle, and family and community support are all crucial to ensuring that our youngest and most vulnerable community members have the best start in life.
This Petersburg Health Department event is one of 18 Baby Buggy Walk festivals happening in other cities across the nation this fall. These festivals focus attention on the link between healthy lifestyles, healthy families, and healthy babies.
The CAN was established through the Petersburg Health Department’s Healthy Start Loving Steps (HSLS) program. This program serves mothers and their children up to age two by providing support, information and referrals.
The group will implement a strategic plan to help increase awareness of infant mortality; the Baby Buggy Walk is an integral part of that plan. CAN members are recruited from diverse community sectors, and meet regularly to plan activities that will improve awareness about, and help to reduce, infant mortality and low birthweight in Petersburg.