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HHS Secretary, First Lady Announce Awards to Support Public-Health Efforts

Photo: Chris Smith
Photo: Chris Smith

Department of Health and Human Services yesterday announced $31 million for awards to 10 communities in eight states and one award to a state health department to support public-health efforts to reduce obesity and smoking, increase physical activity and improve nutrition.

The awards are part of the HHS “Communities Putting Prevention to Work program,” a prevention and wellness initiative administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“As I’ve seen throughout the year in my work with Let’s Move!, prevention works when it comes to improving the health of our families,” first lady Michelle Obama said. “These critical investments will help more communities across America tackle serious health challenges like childhood obesity, while promoting physical activity and healthy eating.”

To realize the goals of improving Americans’ health and decrease U.S. healthcare costs, the underlying factors that influence families’ health must be addressed, said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

“With ‘Communities Putting Prevention to Work,’ we’re creating evidence-based models that we can replicate on a large scale to permanently reduce the chronic diseases plaguing so many of our communities,” she added.

These “Communities Putting Prevention to Work” awards will give communities the resources needed to create healthy choices for residents, such as increasing availability of healthy foods and beverages, improving access to safe places for physical activity, discouraging tobacco use, and encouraging smoke-free environments. Ten of these awards are dedicated to prevent obesity, and one to tobacco cessation.

HHS also announced $10 million in additional funding for six communities to provide mentoring to less-experienced communities based on their previous success in specific policy strategies.

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