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HHS Awards $31M for Prevention Projects

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, September 16, 2010

The Department of Health and Human Services will send $31 million to 10 communities in eight states, and the South Carolina Health Department, for programs to reduce obesity and smoking, increase physical activity, and improve nutrition.

The awards funded by the Prevention and Public Health Fund included in the Affordable Care Act are part of HHS' Communities Putting Prevention to Work program, administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"As I’ve seen throughout the year in my work with Let’s Move!, prevention works when it comes to improving the health of our families," First Lady Michelle Obama said in an HHS statement. "These critical investments will help more communities across America tackle serious health challenges like childhood obesity, while promoting physical activity and healthy eating."

This week’s announcement follows the release in February and March of more than $491.8 million in Communities Putting Prevention to Work funds to states, territories and communities. Those projects are supporting statewide and community-based policy and environmental changes in nutrition, physical activity, tobacco control, and tobacco cessation media campaigns.

“To realize our goals of improving the health of Americans and lowering our nation’s healthcare costs, we must address the underlying factors that influence our families’ health—factors like the foods we eat and the conditions that exist in our homes, neighborhoods and workplaces,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

These Communities Putting Prevention to Work awards will provide communities with the resources to create healthy choices for residents, such as increasing access to healthy foods, improving access to safe places for physical activity, discouraging tobacco use, and encouraging smoke-free environments. Of the 11 new awards, 10 are dedicated to obesity prevention, and one to tobacco cessation.

Seven of 10 deaths each year are caused by chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. These same chronic diseases account for more than 75% of our nation’s healthcare spending, HHS says. 

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