10/25/07 — Agency gets funds to tackle childhood obesity across N.C.

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Agency gets funds to tackle childhood obesity across N.C.

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on October 25, 2007 1:45 PM

The Partnership for Children of Wayne County has been awarded a $26,771 grant to participate in a statewide project addressing childhood obesity.

State officials said recently that Wayne County has 37.5 percent of its children ages 2-4 considered at risk for being overweight, as compared to the state average, which is currently at 31 percent. In 2006, Wayne County ranked 98th in the state for the percentage of children at risk for being overweight and 76th for the percentage of overweight of children.

Based on recommendations by the county's Childhood Obesity Taskforce, the Partnership received the grant funding to work with child care centers in Wayne County on improving these outcomes.

Awarded by the N.C. Partnership for Children, the two-year Smart Start pilot project grant was partially funded by the Apple Gold Group, which develops and operates Applebee's restaurants in North Carolina, Oklahoma and Arkansas. It is one of 26 Smart Start pilot grants awarded to 44 counties in the state.

The grant will be used locally to focus on four critical issues facing children -- obesity, access to developmental screenings, family literacy and parent education.

The Partnership will primarily work with child care centers around the county to improve nutritional quality of food served, the amount and quality of physical activity, child-staff interactions and center's nutrition and physical activity policy.

Officials said an estimated 12 child care facilities, serving about 600 children, will participate in the 18-month grant cycle.

Certified child care health consultants from Wayne County Health Department will support the project, providing training, assessments and technical assistance based on individual center needs.

Applications will be accepted from area child care centers during the month of November for the first round of grant awards. Two more rounds will be offered, between July 1, 2008 and June 30, 2009.

For more information about the project, call 735-3371, ext. 231.