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NC Department of Health and Human Services

14 local health departments receive $2 million in funding for obesity prevention projects

Release Date: September 16, 2008 (corrected September 22, 2008)
Contact: Carol Schriber, 919-733-9190

RALEIGH – Fourteen community grants to enhance existing efforts to reduce obesity have been awarded to county health departments across the state, the N.C. Division of Public Health announced today.

Childhood Obesity Prevention Project grants went to five counties. The Division awarded $380,000 each to the Cabarrus, Dare, Henderson and Moore county health departments, and to the Appalachian District Health Department for work focusing on Watauga County.

Another $150,000 was divided among nine other health departments and health districts for smaller projects in support of the Eat Smart, Move More North Carolina movement. Those were chosen from 43 applications from local health departments aiming to increase opportunities for healthy eating and physical activity in their respective communities.

The five Childhood Obesity Prevention Project counties will use their grants for strategies proven to prevent childhood obesity that support the Eat Smart, Move More: North Carolina’s Plan to Prevent Overweight, Obesity and Other Chronic Diseases. Each will run a comprehensive public awareness campaign in conjunction with existing county bicycle and pedestrian plans, as well as programs in preschools and child care centers, pediatrics practices, YMCAs, hospitals, schools and the faith community.

“We have never had the opportunity in North Carolina to bring together all our childhood obesity prevention programs and resources in one, much less five communities,” said Dr. Marcus Plescia, section chief for chronic disease prevention with the N.C. Division of Public Health. “We hope the concentrated efforts in these communities will begin to move the needle on the scale of childhood obesity back to a more healthy weight and activity pattern.”

“We will be evaluating these efforts very closely to ensure their success and to learn what we need to know in order to expand obesity prevention efforts to other counties in the future,” Plescia said.

The nine smaller Eat Smart Move More grants went to local health departments in the following counties and health districts: Buncombe County, Carteret County, Chatham County, Davidson County, Durham County, Granville and Vance counties, Lee County, Wake County and Warren County.

The funded projects will build upon existing effective programs or will try new approaches to increasing healthy behaviors. The proposals ranged from worksite wellness programs to building new parks and walking trails. The projects receiving grants must be sustainable after the year of funding has ended. Complete descriptions of each funded project can be found on the Eat Smart, Move More NC website,

North Carolina was recently ranked 16th in the nation in adult obesity in a national report. More alarming is the state’s ranking of 5th in the nation in overweight adolescents. The percentage of children and adults who are overweight or obese rises each year, and despite advances in medicine, the current generation of children may be the first to live shorter lives than their parents. Eat Smart, Move More NC strives to reverse this trend by creating environments where healthy eating and physical activity are the norm instead of the exception.

For more information on the statewide Eat Smart, Move More NC movement or to find out how your community can promote healthy eating and physical activity, visit on the Web.









Updated: October 14, 2008