Forty-three Communities Receive Grants To Combat Obesity and Chronic Diseases

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Association of County and City Health Officials, National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, National Recreation and Park Association, and YMCA of the USA partner on ACHIEVE.

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD), the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), and the YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) today announced that 43 U.S. communities have been selected in 21 states to advance community leadership in the nation's efforts to prevent chronic diseases and related risk factors through a locally collaborative approach. This approach, called Action Communities for Health, Innovation, and EnVironmental changE (ACHIEVE), is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s Healthy Communities Program.

The purpose of ACHIEVE is to bring together local leaders and stakeholders to build healthier communities by promoting policy, systems, and environmental change strategies that focus on physical activity, nutrition, tobacco cessation, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

ACHIEVE is an innovative approach that brings together all sectors of a community to spur policy change toward prevention of chronic diseases. The 2009 ACHIEVE communities will build on the successes learned in the 2008 ACHIEVE pilot communities. The ACHIEVE approach aims to promote improvements such as increased access to and use of attractive and safe locations for engaging in physical activity; revised school food contracts that include more fruits and vegetables and whole grain foods; and requirements for sidewalks and crossing signals in neighborhoods to make them more pedestrian-friendly, among others.

ACHIEVE fosters collaborative partnerships between city and county health officials, city and county government, tribal programs, parks and recreation departments, local YMCAs, local health-related coalitions, and other representatives from the school, business, health, and community sectors. State Departments of Health are also available to help provide state-based resources and information as well as linkages to other collaborators to help communities meet their goals. ACHIEVE recognizes the roles of these institutions as trusted community conveners and aims to combine public health expertise from the state and local levels with the experience of the YMCA and local parks and recreation departments that have expertise in providing community support and outreach.

"The CDC is pleased to collaborate with and support the efforts of these national partners to make positive and sustainable community health changes to establish healthy lifestyles and environments" said Dr. Wayne Giles, Director, CDC's Division of Adult and Community Health. "Promoting healthier lifestyles and supporting healthy communities will help us meet our goal of reducing chronic diseases. Through community action and partnerships, we can create a synergy that assists people in making healthy choices where they live, learn, work and play."

The communities applied for this program and were selected after a competitive review process that included hundreds of applications. Grant funding will be distributed among the teams to encourage attendance at leadership conferences, including an Action Institute where community leaders can learn about effective strategies to design, implement and effect community change.

What's Next for ACHIEVE Teams

Local community members will immediately begin to compose teams consisting of 10 local leaders. Each team will include representatives from the following categories: elected officials; state and local directors of public health organizations; business leaders from various industries; and leaders of local schools, parks and recreation departments, hospitals, and other community organizations. These teams will convene at one of two regional Action Institutes in Alexandria, Virginia, or Denver, Colorado, in July 2009. At this training conference, attendees will be taught by nationally known experts to effect change in their communities.

For a complete listing of all funded communities, please visit the ACHIEVE Web site at http://www.achievecommunities.org or CDC's Healthy Communities Program's Web site at: http://www.cdc.gov/healthycommunitiesprogram.

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