KING COUNTY, WASHINGTON - The W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan today announced that Seattle and King County will be awarded $500,000 to participate in an effort to help communities embrace healthy eating and active living.
"Preventing obesity starts in our communities," said Dr. David Fleming, Director and Health Officer for Public Health Seattle & King County. "This award supports a groundbreaking approach and partnership that links local farms, playgrounds and dinner tables to promote healthy living. We're excited to move forward."
Washington State University King County Extension and Public Health Seattle & King County are lead partners in the King County Food and Fitness Initiative, one of nine projects nationwide selected as pilot sites by the Kellogg Foundation. Over a two year period, over 40 local partners will develop plans to provide children, youth, and families with greater access to affordable and healthy food, and to safe spaces and structures for physical activity, while supporting local, sustainable agriculture.
This grant comes at an important time for the community's health. Chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, obesity and a lack of physical activity are increasing in King County:
- More than half of county residents are overweight and low-income people and people of color are disproportionately affected by overweight, poor nutrition and physical inactivity.
- About 1 in 5 students in the sixth through 12th grades are overweight or at risk of being overweight.
- Physical activity decreases markedly in youth at higher grades-one in four 12th graders reporting no days of moderate activity for at least 30 minutes in the past week.
"Washington State University is very excited about this opportunity to partner with Public Health -Seattle & King County and so many diverse community partners. It is time for system change and this partnership provides a catalyst to address disparities in access to healthy food while helping to support the economic viability of our local farms," said Brad Gaolach, director of WSU King County Extension.
The focus of the King County Food and Fitness Initiative is to make the healthy choice the easy choice for local residents. As part of this effort, youth will be engaged to develop and participate in community solutions that make a difference for families. The initiative will also focus on supporting the conditions that sustain local farm viability in order to increase availability of nutritious, locally grown produce for residents.
At the end of the two-year grant, the King County Initiative will be eligible for potential implementation funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for up to eight years.
"The King County Food and Fitness Collaborative was chosen to join us in this effort because of its passionate leadership, commitment to the community, and for the inroads it has already made in organizing around the issue of healthy communities," says Linda Jo Doctor, Kellogg Foundation program director in Health.
What other King County Food and Fitness Initiative partners are saying about the initiative:
"This project holds tremendous promise for our community, particularly among the thousands of low-income families who struggle each day with hunger and obesity," said Paul Haas, Development Director for Solid Ground.
"As a provider caring for children from low-income families, food insecurity is a major factor in their lives that they face on a daily basis. Some of my families frequently run out of food by the third week of the month and go hungry or buy cheap, high-calorie foods. Having the opportunity to be a part of the Food and Fitness Initiative's focus on improving local food access to all especially those with less means will significantly help the families that I care for," said Dr. Lenna Liu, pediatrician at Odessa Brown Children's Clinic.
Learn more about the King County Food and Fitness Initiative and the organizations currently involved.
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation was established in 1930 "to help people help themselves through the practical application of knowledge and resources to improve their quality of life and that of future generations." To achieve the greatest impact, the Foundation targets its grants toward specific areas. These include: health; food systems and rural development; youth and education; and philanthropy and volunteerism. Within these areas, attention is given to exploring learning opportunities in leadership; information and communication technology; capitalizing on diversity; and social and economic community development. Grants are concentrated in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the southern African countries of Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe. For further information, please visit the Foundation's Web site at www.wkkf.org.
WSU Extension experts provide resources that help individuals, families, and communities improve stewardship and quality of life in urban and rural King County. We have been doing this for nearly 100 years. Find out more at www.king.wsu.edu.
Providing effective and innovative health and disease prevention services for over 1.8 million residents and visitors of King County, Public Health Seattle & King County works for safer and healthier communities for everyone, every day.