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Major Award to Help San Joaquin County Battle Chronic Disease, Improve African-American Health | Community

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Major Award to Help San Joaquin County Battle Chronic Disease, Improve African-American Health
Major Award to Help San Joaquin County Battle Chronic Disease, Improve African-American Health

A $235,000 grant was awarded this month to help San Joaquin County implement policy, program and environmental changes aimed at improving health in the African-American community.

Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the grant will be administered by the California Center for Public Health Advocacy (CCPHA) and its local partner, the Stockton branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The funds are part of the CDC’s Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) program, and will be used to develop and promote community strategies and policies that improve nutrition, increase physical activity and expand access to healthy foods in organizations serving African-American and low-income residents. 

“This grant is a shot in the arm for communities of color in San Joaquin County, which suffer disproportionately from chronic diseases like diabetes,” says Bobby Bivens, NAACP’s Stockton branch president. “Our organization will put its full weight behind this initiative to begin the vital work of reaching out and empowering our community to build healthier workplaces, organizations and faith communities.”

San Joaquin County has some of the highest levels of adult overweight in the state (65 percent), but the numbers are even more alarming for African-Americans in the county (85 percent). This initiative builds on the body of knowledge funded through previous REACH programs, including REACH US and REACH 2010. The grant is focused on strategies to reduce or eliminate chronic disease health disparities in racial and ethnic groups. CCPHA’s work is aimed at helping organizations, churches and businesses implement nutrition standards, physical activity breaks and measures to limit children’s consumption of sugary beverages, with an emphasis on African-American neighborhoods. It will also work to improve community design, making walking, biking and other active modes of transportation more convenient.

“We plan to work with cities, neighborhoods, businesses and organizations throughout the area to consider and implement policies that unravel the region’s shocking obesity and chronic disease trends,” says LaCresia Hawkins, REACH coordinator for CCPHA. “Working together, we’ll spearhead trainings to help residents implement changes that improve their health and well-being.”  

Some of the grant will aid in the City of Stockton’s adoption of the Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) program. In 2010, the Stockton City Council passed a resolution in support of HEAL guidelines that calls for healthy land use, more grocery stores and the development of policies that improve health at work. CCPHA is subcontractor to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), a recipient of Prevention and Public Health funds from the CDC. 

More information about the San Joaquin REACH project is available at healthequity.ucla.edu/ucla-healthy-default-reach.

Source: California Center for Public Health Advocacy 

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