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Embrace a Healthy Florida Pumps Up Studies on Childhood Obesity

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Feb. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The Blue Foundation for a Healthy Florida, the philanthropic affiliate of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida (BCBSF), recently approved $499,418 for grants that will fund further study of the childhood obesity epidemic's impact on children and health care in Florida. Applied research will test programs that emphasize nutrition and physical activity.

The grants are part of The Blue Foundation's ongoing initiative, Embrace a Healthy Florida, to foster public-private partnerships that create optimal conditions for children to be healthy. The initiative was launched in May 2008, and the first grants were awarded to nine organizations in October 2008.

Recipients, grant totals and program areas funded are:

  • Nemours Health and Prevention Services -- $100,000 -- engage child care centers in Orlando to teach healthy eating and active lifestyles using a successful curriculum to 3- to 5-year-olds.
  • Hebni Nutrition Consultants -- $100,000 -- study efforts to mobilize the Parramore neighborhood of Orlando and surrounding community schools, churches and child care organizations to learn and practice healthy nutrition. Special attention will be placed on work with grocers and restaurants to offer consumers nutritional foods and meal options.
  • University of South Florida, Division of Sponsored Research -- $100,000 -- examine 2003-2008 data about the impact of obesity on children, youth and families as well as health care costs. Report the findings in a second-edition "Child Health and Healthcare Quality in Florida: A Chartbook" that will inform state policymakers and decision-makers about the scope of the obesity epidemic and its impact on children and health care costs in Florida.
  • Leon County Health Department -- $99,418 -- conduct a community food environment assessment of Leon County and home food environment assessment of low-income families in Frenchtown. The data gathered will suggest next steps for addressing the community's nutrition needs in order to create an optimal environment for promoting healthy weight in children.
  • War on Poverty -- $100,000 -- research a comprehensive community awareness and engagement campaign with residents, schools, churches, child care centers, restaurants, grocers, and governmental agencies in Northwest Jacksonville to improve children's access to active living and nutritious food that lead to healthy weight and lifestyles.

"Putting resources toward improving the health and well-being of our children by focusing on basic health and nutrition needs is a smart investment in our children's future," said Susan Towler, executive director, The Blue Foundation for a Healthy Florida. "By combining resources in partnership with community groups and public agencies we can effectively create an environment in Florida where children have the best start in developing healthy eating and active lifestyle habits."

The Blue Foundation for a Healthy Florida is a nonprofit, private foundation established by BCBSF in 2001. Through strategic philanthropy, The Blue Foundation supports community-based solutions that address the health care needs of Floridians, particularly the uninsured and underserved.

The Blue Foundation for a Healthy Florida is a separate, philanthropic affiliate of BCBSF incorporated in the state of Florida. The Blue Foundation for a Healthy Florida, and its parent, BCBSF, are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. For more information on The Blue Foundation for a Healthy Florida, please visit its Web site at

SOURCE The Blue Foundation for a Healthy Florida
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