Foundation awards grants to help reverse obesity

by Eric Schroeder
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PRINCETON, N.J. — The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (R.W.J.F.) has awarded multi-year grants to 41 communities across the United States as part of a landmark national program to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic by 2015.

The 41 sites are funded through Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities, an R.W.J.F. program that supports local efforts to improve access to affordable healthy foods and opportunities for physical activity for children and families.

“These sites can help move the country toward a place where good health is built right into the environment,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A., president and chief executive officer of the R.W.J.F. “All children, no matter where they live, should be able to jump on a bike and ride safely in their neighborhood or to school. They should be able to play in a well-maintained and crime-free park. And they and their families should be able to easily find — and afford — fresh, healthy foods.”

Under terms of the investment, each of the 41 new communities will receive a four-year grant of up to $360,000 to craft innovative solutions aimed at helping children and families lead healthier lives. In total, the R.W.J.F. has committed to invest $33 million through Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities over five years, its single largest investment in community-based solutions to childhood obesity.

The grants are wide ranging, and include programs in Nash and Edgecombe counties in North Carolina to work with pre-school providers to make sure they support active play and serve nutritious foods, as well as an initiative in Kansas City to expand access to healthy foods through a sustainable food program servicing the metropolitan area on both sides of the Kansas-Missouri state line.

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