April 3, 2002 | By: Laura Skillman

Belinda Bryant understands the importance of helping children get off to a good start, and that includes proper prenatal care.

Bryant, McCracken County Extension agent for Family and Consumer Sciences, is leading the local effort of the "Healthy me. Healthy baby." campaign. The statewide awareness program is overseen by the Governor's Office of Early Child Development and is designed to educate women on proper prenatal care.

"It only enhances what I'm already doing," said Bryant. Bryant and Extension agents across the state serve on early childhood councils in their communities.

Besides, Bryant said having been a 4-H agent for 16 years means she's seen the needs of children and how today's children are becoming an unhealthy generation. Anything to improve their odds is worth the effort, she noted.

The initiative is part of the childhood development programs that have been funded through the Tobacco Settlement money. Additional sponsors such as the Kentucky Pharmacy Association, Kentucky Grocers Association, the Kentucky Retail Federation, Pepsi-Cola and others have assisted in putting up posters in stores and allowing space for tabletop displays.

The campaign contains a series of advertising and public relations materials including television and radio commercials, print advertisements, tabletop exhibits, and brochures designed by Meridian Communications of Lexington. Marquees for transit buses are also available and soon will be seen on buses in Paducah.

Twenty communities in the state including McCracken County have been selected for a more in-depth, local effort. These communities were selected because of such things as low birth weight and premature births.

Bryant will be the clearinghouse for all the campaign materials in her county, and will ensure that the exhibits are being utilized. The plans are for the materials to be at Head Start registrations, the mall, Family Resource Centers, women's wellness centers, health fairs and obstetricians offices.

In attention, Bryant said she will be taking the materials with her to the monthly programs she does for Kentucky Transitional Assistance Program recipients.

"Hopefully, we will reach the people who need it," she said.

For more information on the campaign call (502) 564-2611 ext. 451 and for health information call toll-free 866-929-2229.


Belinda Bryant, (270) 554-9520