HEAL Appalachia offers grants for groups fighting childhood obesity


Grants are being offered to local organizations to aid in an initiative that aims to reduce childhood obesity throughout Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. 

HEAL (Healthy Eating, Active Living) Appalachia, a program created by the Mountain States Health Alliance and East Tennessee State University Obesity Collaborative, is offering grants to community organizations whose goal is to fight obesity in children. HEAL Appalachia is an initiative that will provide surrounding communities with leadership and guidance in efforts to reduce childhood obesity levels across our region. 

This organization was created in response to the alarming growth of obesity rates among our region’s children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity rates in teens across Tennessee increased 18% from 1990 to 2009. The economic cost of obesity has also been on the rise, currently costing the American economy $147 billion annually. 

One way this initiative can inspire others to help is by offering the Community Grants Program. This grant program will award 25 grants of $2,000 each to not only community organizations, but also to faith-based organizations, school systems, employers, health care professionals, and more that are willing to support the cause and help to expand the efforts of HEAL Appalachia. These grants will be awarded across a 21-county region through a competitive process to organizations that produce a plan to create additional programs that support the goals behind the HEAL Appalachia initiative. 

Organizations that wish to be a part of this local effort need to complete the online application process at www.healappalachia.com. Applications that are mailed or e-mailed will not be accepted. The deadline for submission is 5 p.m. on March 1, 2011, and grants will be awarded at the HEAL Appalachia obesity symposium on April 27, 2011. Attendance is required. 

Grant workshops will be held at the end of January. To register for a grant workshop or for workshop details, call 1-800-888-5551, option 4. 

For more information on the Community Grants Program, e-mail CommunityGrants@msha.com or visit www.healappalachia.com.
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