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Planting Seeds to Fight Childhood Obesity

Wednesday, February 10, 2010 General News J E 4
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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., Feb. 9 The Quantum Foundation is proud to be partners in a grant awarded to the School District of Palm Beach County that will help kids and their parents eat right and get fit. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) recently announced a $360,000 grant to improve opportunities for physical activity and access to affordable healthy foods for children and families in Lake Worth, Greenacres and Palm Springs communities. Based on a rigorous selection process that drew more than 500 proposals from across the country, Palm Beach County is one of 41 sites selected for the RWJF Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities initiative. The Quantum Foundation awarded $20,000 needed in matching funds to begin the grant process with RWJF.

One of the overarching goals for this initiative is to build on the success of the District's wellness promotion efforts which implement healthy eating and active living changes during the school day. Public officials and other partners are interested in complementing these efforts throughout the Lake Worth-Palm Springs-Greenacres neighborhoods by engaging families and community members. The project will increase access to healthy foods by establishing community gardens and farmers' markets that sell fruits and vegetables at a reasonable cost. The partners also hope to allow for after-hours use of recreation facilities that are located at schools and promote the use of safe biking and walking paths.

The long-term goals for this initiative are to maintain an effective public/private partnership, to serve as a catalyst for action, and to increase access to healthy food and active living opportunities for low-income families. "Receiving the RWJF Healthy Kids Healthy Communities grant will allow the project neighborhoods and the School District to become partners in creating a community of wellness," said Eric Stern, administrator for physical education and health for the School District.

"Health begins at home and this grant will teach residents in these communities how to choose the right foods, cook better and exercise together," said Jeannette Corbett, acting President of the Quantum Foundation, "and that will lead to a healthier community one family at a time."

Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities is a $33 million national program and RWJF's largest investment to date in community-based solutions to childhood obesity. The Quantum Foundation has invested more than $80 million dollars in Palm Beach County with a mission of advancing health, education and community betterment.

SOURCE Quantum Foundation
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