Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Nutrition and Food Systems (MSNFS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Dietetics and Human Nutrition

First Advisor

Dr. Dawn Brewer


The goal of this study is to determine issues rural Appalachian residents consider most important, their perceived environmental health risk, and how community engagement can potentially improve those issues. The University of Kentucky Superfund Research Center held the Appalachian Community Health and Well-being Forum at the Letcher County Cooperative Extension Office in Eastern Kentucky. A four-member panel consisted of two local health officials, a nutrition expert, and a federal scientist; answered questions from community members. The expert panel and audience members shared concerns, success stories, and highlighted efforts to promote health in the region. Community members completed a questionnaire collecting information on perceived environmental health risk, fruit and vegetable intake, and basic demographic information. The concerns raised by community members were chronic disease, poverty, pollution, mental health, and wellness. Proposed solutions were compliance, nutrition, physical activity, education, empathy, funding, community engagement, awareness, holistic health, prevention, and insurance/policy change. The programs in place to combat these issues are FARMACY, Community Health Workers, transportation services, mobile dental vans, Kentucky River Watershed Watch, research, policy changes, and the CLIK program. The questionnaire showed that residents are aware of the types of pollution in their community and believe that illness is caused by pollution in their environment. Community residents feel that pollution is not something they should have to live with, they act to protect themselves from pollution, and likely to engage in community efforts to stop pollution in their community.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)