|Robert Wood Johnson Foundation expands UNC program to reverse childhood obesity|
|Wednesday, January 13, 2010|
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has awarded multi-year grants to 41 communities across the country as part of a landmark national program, based at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which aims to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic by 2015.
The sites are funded through Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities, a foundation program housed at Active Living by Design, part of the North Carolina Institute for Public Health at UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health. The program supports local efforts to improve access to affordable healthy foods and opportunities for physical activity for children and families.
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. With nine communities named as leading sites in 2008, the program now encompasses 50 sites in more than half of the states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. With a total commitment of $33 million over five years, it is the foundation’s single largest investment in community-based solutions to childhood obesity and a cornerstone of the foundation’s $500 million commitment to reverse the epidemic.
The program will work in communities ranging from big cities to small, isolated locations. All of the targeted neighborhoods have a significant obesity problem exacerbated by such issues as high unemployment and poverty, crime, dangerous traffic, too few grocery stores and aging, broken or insufficient infrastructure. Two of the grantees are located in North Carolina; Moore and Montgomery Counties and Nash and Edgecombe Counties.
The new sites and the program as a whole will target the barriers that make it difficult for children to get daily physical activity or eat healthy foods. They will then determine what new policies and environmental changes would work best to overcome those barriers and reduce the prevalence of obesity.
Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: Ramona DuBose, (919) 966-7467,