Report finds foundation initiative to help seven Ky. communities grow healthy children is making progress, with goal of replication

The seven local coalitions that got Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky grants to keep children from developing chronic diseases as they grow into adults are making “marked progress” toward their goals, according to a report prepared for the foundation.

The five-year, $3 million initiative, “Investing in Kentucky’s Future,” is designed to reduce the risk that Kentucky children will develop diseases all too common to the state, such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. The community coalitions were charged with looking at the health needs of local children and developing an intervention plan to address their most pressing health issues.

The grantees include: Partnership for a Healthy McLean County, Purchase Area Connections for Health, Fitness for Life Around Grant County, Breathitt County Health Planning Council for Children, Perry County Wellness Coalition, Clinton County Healthy Hometown Coalition, all of which focus on childhood obesity. The Bounce Coalition in Jefferson County focuses on adverse childhood experiences.

“The coalitions are reporting that the grants, research, relationship-building support and other assistance we’ve provided have helped them tackle the health needs of their communities’ children in new and bigger ways,” Susan Zepeda, CEO of the foundation, said in a news release.

A list of their accomplishments include: 17 policy changes in their schools and communities, including shared-use agreements that allow school programs and fitness facilities to be used by the community after hours, healthier foods at park concessions, and “complete streets” initiatives, which aim to make streets more accessible to walking and biking; several improvements to community and school fitness facilities; and school-based nutrition curricula and physical activities.

“For many of the coalitions, rural and urban, their work under the ‘Investing in Kentucky’s Future’ initiative is their first community-wide effort to address the issue they’ve identified,” Zepeda said. “Our aim is to support these coalitions in expanding their membership, formalizing their structure, gain momentum, and strengthening their partnerships with schools to create successful programs that can be replicated across the commonwealth.”

Click here to see the full report, prepared by the Center for Community Health and Evaluation.

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