Municipalities receiving funds include: Eden, Gastonia, Lumberton, Wilmington, Ahoskie, Banner Elk, Carrboro, Midland, Mount Gilead, Sparta and Waxhaw. Funded communities will serve as trailblazers in informing state level policy on physical activity and the built environment (bike lanes, greenways, pedestrian crossings, sidewalks, trails, playgrounds etc). The grant awards are part of North Carolina’s public health response to the national obesity epidemic.
“North Carolina is the 10th most overweight and obese state in the nation,” State Health Director Jeffrey Engel, MD, said. “If we are going to improve the health of our citizens, we must look to innovative partners at the municipal level to help us think in new ways about policy and health.”
Funding for this initiative comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) award to North Carolina. Communities selected will receive up to $24,999 as well as technical assistance and access to multiple training events to improve their knowledge and skills in health, policy, advocacy and media. Funds will be awarded over the next 15 months.
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report issued Tuesday calls for urgent action against this growing problem. The report shows that nine states had an obesity rate of 30 percent or higher in 2009; in 2005, only three states had numbers over 30 percent. In North Carolina, more than 29 percent of North Carolina adults consider themselves obese.
Read the complete news release from NC DHHS DPH.