The Quay County on the Move Program began in 2014 with a project funded by Oregon State University’s Cooperative Extension Service. Tucumcari, the principal population center for the county, qualified for the multi-state project based on our demographics and poor health statistics. The project, Generating Rural Options for Weight Healthy Kids and Communities (GROW), uses a process called Healthy Eating Active Living: Mapping Attributes using Participatory Photographic Surveys (MAPPS). After several months of following the process to map the community and get input, it was determined that in addition to being a food desert with very limited healthy food choices, people did not feel safe to walk in the community. On the readiness scale, the Tucumcari was not ready to participate in fitness activities. There was a lot of work to do.

The GROW team merged with the Quay County Health Council’s Nutrition and Fitness Committee to bring the group to twenty volunteers to work on developing safe routes for people to walk and find ways for people to get started. The Quay County Extension Office took the lead in organizing the committee and activities. After researching the issues and looking at what other communities have done, the group identified five places in the community that had safe sidewalks for people to walk. The group also mapped out a walking route connecting historic Main Street with Route 66, passing many historic buildings and businesses. The path is a safe walking route for residents and a tourist attraction for visitors.

Over the past few years, we have held a number of walking events to encourage people to walk to work or shopping instead of drive. Local churches and businesses have hosted physical activity events as well. In this time, we have observed an increase in the number of people walking in the community. With the help of UNM’s Prevention Research Center, we developed a survey that went to 140 people, asking about their current mindset on fitness. We hope to re-administer the survey in a year to see if we can determine the impact that we’re making. Another big next step for this committee is working on the Five Mile Park revitalization project to help develop trails in a natural setting.

The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends adults get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week. This graph shows the percentage of adults who meet this recommendation in Quay County (including Tucumcari) as compared to New Mexico and the United States in the years 2011, 2013, and 2015.

For more information on health stats in Quay County, check out the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps.

Last updated Dec. 10, 2018