Wednesday, July 7, 2010

AHA to Assist Communities Engaged in Obesity Prevention

The American Heart Association will help communities develop evidence-based strategies to combat obesity under the Department of Health and Human Services Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) grant program. The association has been awarded a grant to provide technical assistance to government-funded communities to improve health behaviors among local residents.

“This initiative will have a dramatic impact on our ability to create community environments that promote physical activity and healthy eating as obesity rates continue to spiral upward in many areas of the country,” said Nancy Brown, American Heart Association CEO. “This is an epidemic that must be addressed with community-based interventions that will make it easier for local residents to make healthier choices where they live, learn, eat and play.”

Using a strategic and technical assistance consulting model, the association will offer expertise in obesity policy prevention strategies to help communities lay the groundwork for a sustained initiative that will change environments beyond the goals of the CPPW program. Support will include an assessment of community activities, development of specific campaign plans, coaching and training sessions.

The CPPW program was launched last year to reduce risk factors, prevent chronic disease and promote wellness in both children and adults. This is the first federal government grant awarded to the American Heart Association. In order to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans, the association recognized the need to consider additional funding streams to support specific programs that will facilitate behavior change.

“The American Heart Association has successfully initiated policies and programs on the community level to combat obesity and this grant will supplement our efforts to reach a larger segment of the population,” said Brown. “We strongly believe that Americans can reduce their risk for heart disease, stroke and other chronic illnesses with improved access to healthy foods and areas that promote physical activity.”

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