HEAL Appalachia grant recipients see great results in nutrition programs; Greene County kids learn to G.R.O.W.


GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – Healthy Eating, Active Living (HEAL) Appalachia, a community collaborative between Mountain States Health Alliance (MSHA) and East Tennessee State University, is designed to combat obesity levels in the Southern Appalachian region. The 2013 HEAL Appalachia Symposium will be held at Marriott MeadowView Convention Center in Kingsport. The day-long event will feature three keynote speakers, breakfast and lunch and the announcement of the 2013 micro-grant recipients.

The Boys and Girls Club of Greeneville & Greene County, a 2012 grant recipient funded the Growing Resources for Outdoor Wellness, or G.R.O.W., program, dedicated to getting kids excited about getting outdoors, growing fresh produce and of course eating it!

“We have had the G.R.O.W. program for about three years,” said Cathy Osborne, Program Director at BGCG. “Now, thanks to the grant, we have a year-long, continuous program instead of something just here and there.”

GBCB is partnered with the Greene County Health Department, Greene County Health Council and the University of Tennessee Extension, Master Gardens. Each quarter GBGC and Master Gardens plan out the activities and lessons the participants of the G.R.O.W. program will be involved in. The kids in the Gardening Club meet with an instructor from Master Gardens every first and third Monday every month.

Participants have learned to water, weed and maintain the garden along with picking the fruits and vegetables as they become ready. The harvest was so plentiful last summer that kids were allowed to take some of the fruits and vegetables home to share with their families.

“The G.R.O.W. program has been a real success and benefit to so many of our club members,” said Osborne. “Having the kids take part in making their own healthy snacks has been encouraging for them to make these simple recipes at home.”

All of the snacks prepared in the kitchen use as few ingredients as possible, making for an easy recipe to try at home. The goal of the G.R.O.W. program is to engage the kids at GBGC in healthy lifestyle choices by getting outdoors and learning how fun and delicious fresh foods can be. Now thanks to the support from HEAL Appalachia and other community organizations, this goal can continue being fulfilled.

In order to first receive a grant from HEAL Appalachia, an organization must to apply with a proposed program that reflects HEAL Appalachia’s Call to Action, the 5-2-1-0 message, and focuses on the four key areas of a person’s life that facilitate change: where a person learns, works, heals and worships. The 5-2-1-0 message stands for five or more servings of fruits or vegetables, two hours or less of recreational screen time, one hour or more of vigorous exercise and zero sugary drinks, more water and low-fat milk.

Those in attendance of this year’s symposium will have the opportunity to learn more about 5-2-1-0 and other programs designed to combat childhood obesity. Three keynote speakers, Rick Fortier, program manager for 5210 Let’s Go! Goes to School and Goes After School programs in Maine; Stephanie Cihon, Corporate Director of Community Relations and Advocacy at ProMedica; and Ron Fink, School Nutrition Program Director for Bristol Tennessee City Schools, will address the crowd before the 2013 grant recipients are announced.

This year 19 micro-grants will be awarded,

To attend the 2013 HEAL Appalachia Symposium Preregister online at www.healappalachia.com/symposiumregistration.

About HEAL Appalachia

HEAL (Healthy Eating Active Living) Appalachia was established in 2008 as a collaborative effort between Mountain States Health Alliance (MSHA) and East Tennessee State University (ETSU) to build momentum in the fight against childhood obesity in Southern Appalachia. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), obesity has doubled in children and tripled in adolescents over the past 30 years. Obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, bone and joint problems, sleep apnea and social and emotional issues related to poor self-esteem. Healthy lifestyle habits can lower the risk of obesity in children, and stem the risk factors associated with it.  HEAL Appalachia believes that childhood obesity is an issue that cannot be solved by one initiative, organization or even one community. However, as a community we can work collaboratively to develop, implement and promote solutions that work within that community’s unique culture.

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