|Dr. David Katz, founder of Yale University's Prevention Research Center and developer of the NuVal nutrition guidance system.
KINGSPORT, Tenn. - The second-annual HEAL Appalachia Obesity Symposium drew more than 300 participants Wednesday from across Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. Community leaders interested in combating childhood obesity gathered at the MeadowView Conference Resort and Convention Center in Kingsport to share ideas and learn from national health experts.
The symposium's keynote speaker was Dr. David Katz, founder of Yale University's Prevention Research Center and developer of the NuVal nutrition guidance system used in more than 1,000 grocery stores across the nation, including Food City stores.
Katz emphasized that reducing the burden of childhood obesity and other risk factors for disease must be a community effort that reaches across disciplines.
"What one thing are we going to do to fix epidemic obesity and heart disease? Well I ask, what one sandbag stops a flood? When that sandbag doesn't work, if we take it away and add a different sandbag, it's equally silly," Katz said.
"Let's build the whole thing, one sandbag at a time. Many of you in this room are involved in developing and implementing sandbags of your own. Everything we do right is part of the solution, and everyone can be part of the solution by contributing to the construction of this levee."
The winners of the 2011 HEAL Appalachia community grants were announced during Wednesday's program. The HEAL Appalachia grant program is a joint effort between Mountain States Health Alliance (MSHA) and East Tennessee State University (ETSU). It provides "micro grants" of $2,000 each to groups that come up with practical ways to address childhood obesity and improve the health of children within their spheres of influence.
Twenty grants were awarded this year to community organizations, schools and faith organizations across the region. The winners are:
- Southwest Virginia Community College Upward Bound Programs
- Fairmont Elementary
- Belfast-Elk Garden Elementary School
- Girls on the Run of Northeast Tennessee, Inc.
- The Coalition For Kids, Inc.
- Learn Today Lead Tomorrow, Inc.
- Johnson City Downtown Clinic/Johnson City Housing Authority/Partners for Health Clinic
- Clinch Valley Community Action
- Boys and Girls Club of Greeneville and Greene County
- Holston View Elementary School
- Bluff City Middle School
- Jonesborough Farmers Market
- Appalachian Sustainable Development
- Elizabethton City Schools
- Virginia Cooperative Extension, Family Nutrition Program
- Cherokee United Methodist Church
- Buffalo Mountain Camp and Retreat Center
- Bristol Family YMCA
- Eating Disorders Coalition of Tennessee – Northeast
- Kingsport City Schools.
A full list of grant winners and descriptions of each project can be found online atwww.healappalachia.org.