Nutrition and Physical Activity Promotion

fruits and vegetables

The Prevention Team at Lewis and Clark Public Health organizes and participates in various community programs that promote physical activity and nutrition as keys to preventing, managing and reversing disease. In addition, in compliance with the Americans for Disabilities Act, our programs ensure that our built environments are safe, inviting, and encouraging of active transportation for people of all abilities. 

Active Living Wayfinding System

The Healthy Communities Coalition, coordinated by Lewis and Clark Public Health, applied for and received a Plan4Health grant in 2014. The purpose of the grant is to develop an "Active Living Wayfinding System(PDF, 57MB)" for parks and along urban trails in the Helena area to increase participation in physical activity and improve access to nutritious food programs.

The grant is part of a unique partnership between the American Planning Association and the American Public Health Association.

Plan4Health is a multi-year project designed to strengthen the connection between the planning and public health professions. It recognizes the impact that the "built environment" has on all aspects of health and leverages the complementary expertise of planners and public health professionals to find innovative tactics to address tough problems.

With the support of the grant, dozens of Helena-area residents from many disciplines have been involved in designing a wayfinding system that not only connects people with healthy activity and food, but also meets the needs of people with disabilities, such as people who use a wheelchair or who have low vision. More than a thousand members of the public provided feedback during the development process.

The group hopes that the system, which includes accessible signage, will be adopted community-wide. For more information, contact Sarah Sandau, Prevention Program Supervisor, 406-457-8960.

Artist's rendition of sign design

Active Living Wayfinding System(PDF, 57MB)

Final signage concept, Alta Planning and Design, Dec. 2016


Walk With Ease

The Walk with Ease Self-Directed Program is a six-week walking program for anyone who would like to start or maintain a low impact exercise program.

Walk with Ease Structure

~Independent, 6-week walking program

~Open to anyone who wants to start or maintain low-impact exercise program

~Participants walk a minimum of three days per week

~Participants can determine time and distance

~Program is designed for all fitness levels

~Participants will receive weekly encouragement emails from instructor

We offer this free to worksites, groups, and individuals. Contact Sarah Sandau to set one up today!

Other Healthy Living Programs

Other healthy living programs include: Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP), Vitual Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (vCDSMP), Worksite Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (wCDSMP), Walk with Ease (WWE), Walk with Ease Self-Directed (WWE0SD), Stepping On and/or Stay Active and Independent for Life (SAIL).

Learn more about other arthritis movement classes from DPHHS here:

Fall Prevention Classes:


12 Walk Audits

Inclusive and Interdisciplinary (I2) Walk Audits are a way to transform communities through public participation to focus on built environments that are safe, inviting, and encouraging of active transportation.

Multiple federal agencies (including the CDC, NACDD, and NCHPAD) created the Reaching People with Disabilities through Healthy Communities grant program to assist state governments and local communities to better work collaboratively to address poor nutrition, physical inactivity, accessibility issues, tobacco use and exposure for people with disabilities, community coaches and disability advisors for Montana and two communities, Butte Silver-Bow and Helena, were among the project’s partners.

During the grant project, the communities developed procedures, training, and leaders to engage public input on community improvement opportunities. These community partners organized the collective experiences and gained knowledge into a toolkit that the CDC launched in March 2020. The workshops and audits resulting from this project (and referenced in the toolkit) are continually leading to greater reach and impact. Some of the success stories can be found here:

During this grant project, Montana-based experts and organizations chose to explore the connection between walkability and inclusiveness through walk audits. A huge stride in inclusiveness and walk audits came when walkability expert Mark Fenton worked with Montana partners, Dr. Meg Traci and Cathy Costakis, to create the I2 Walk Audit format.

More information about Mark Fenton and his work can be found at

Fenton developed the Interdisciplinary Walk Audit model to form a diverse group to conduct built environment audits. During presentations and partnerships with Dr. Meg Traci with the University of Montana Rural Institute, Cathy Costakis with the Montana Nutrition and Physical Activity Program, Montana Independent Living Project, Montana Disability and Health Program, and local health departments, they developed the Inclusive, Interdisciplinary (I2) Walk Audit format. This format focuses on utilizing a diverse, inclusive, and representative group to plan and lead walk audits to create sustainable change.

Walk audits are a tool to gather invested individuals to explore an area while learning from each other’s lived experience and knowledge. Moving through an area while engaging in thorough conversation with people with different perspectives provides deeper insights into the zone’s attributes and what opportunities there are for improvement.

Any proposed enhancements can then be documented, and changes requested.

There are a number of informative documents regarding how to conduct a walk audit:

• AARP Walk Audit Toolkit (and Leader Guide):

• America Walks “How to Conduct a Walk Audit in Your Community”:

• Safe Routes to School “Let’s go for a Walk. A toolkit for planning and conducting a walk audit”:

• Mark Fenton “Tips on Leading a Walk Audit”:

During I2 Walk Audits, the group looks at these four categories:

  1. Land use: Are there different types of destinations; live, work, shop, play, learn, pray?
  2. Network of facilities: What is the quality accessible sidewalks, bike lanes, trails; transit?
  3. Site design: Are buildings at sidewalk or set back; is there bike parking; is design inviting & functional?
  4. Safety & access: Is there ADA or PROWAG design, crossings, traffic (too much, near, or fast); other dangers or discomfort?

Interested in attending an I2 Audit in Lewis and Clark County? Contact Sarah Sandau at


Local Food Assessment

Coming Soon.....