Childhood Obesity, Recently Called a “Disease” by the American Medical Association, to be Addressed in Mississippi and Louisiana Thanks to a W.K. Kellogg Foundation Grant

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The Mississippi Food Network has begun a project, Thriving Communities, Thriving Children, funded by a $1.2 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to improve the health status of young children in Mississippi and Louisiana. Thriving Communities, Thriving Children will expand obesity prevention programming in schools, child care centers, grocery stores, churches, summer camps, and other community locations using the evidence-based OrganWise Guys model.

“We are very excited to have the opportunity to replicate a model that shows such effectiveness in improving health status, and achievement of children.” - Dr. Danielle Hollar

Jackson, MS: The Mississippi Food Network has begun a project to improve the health status of young children in Jackson, Biloxi, and the Mississippi Delta, as well as New Orleans, La., by focusing efforts on childhood obesity prevention in elementary schools and child care centers.

The project, Thriving Communities, Thriving Children (TC2), is funded by a $1.2 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

“We are very excited to receive this grant to help us expand our role in improving the health status of children in low-income communities through programming targeting the provision of nutritious foods, nutrition and healthy living education, and advocating for important policies and programs to address obesity and other food-based problems in communities in Mississippi and Louisiana,” said Mr. Walker Satterwhite, Executive Director of the Mississippi Food Network, a statewide food banking organization that is affiliated with Feeding America.

Thriving Communities, Thriving Children will expand previous school-based obesity prevention programming (also funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation) in Mississippi and Louisiana by commencing new programs using the evidence-based OrganWise Guys model in additional elementary schools, child care centers, grocery stores, churches, summer camps, and other community locations. The prevalence of obesity, which recently has been designated a disease by the American Medical Association, is the highest in the areas targeted by TC2.

The TC2 model is based on the only school-based study to show statistically significant improvements in weight, blood pressure and waist circumference measures, as well as higher average standardized test scores of program children as compared to children who did not participate in the program interventions.

Dr. Danielle Hollar, Executive Director of Healthy Networks Design & Research and Principal Investigator of TC2, led the previous study and is excited about TC2, “We are very excited to have the opportunity to replicate a model that shows such effectiveness in improving health status, and achievement of children.”

“We are so thankful for the long-term support the W.K. Kellogg Foundation has provided towards this effort. TC2 will allow us to expand on the previous projects done in Mississippi and Louisiana, and model the great work in Jackson Public Schools where all 39 elementary schools achieved the United States Department of Agriculture Healthier US School Challenge Gold Awards,” said Dr. Michelle Lombardo, President of The OrganWise Guys Inc.

About the Mississippi Food Network
The Mississippi Food Network (MFN) began in 1983 as food bank warehouse facility to accumulate, store and distribute food and household items for charities that would make the final distribution to needy people in the community. Today, 16.5 million pounds of food are distributed, serving more than 125,000 people each month.

MFN’s mission is to relieve poverty-related hunger in our service area by distributing donated and purchased food and grocery products through a network of member churches and nonprofit organizations. They also provide nutrition education to needy clients and emphasize advocacy and related needs. For more information, visit http://www.msfoodnet.org.

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Mich., and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. For more information, visit http://www.wkkf.org.

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Dr. Danielle Hollar

Dr. Michelle Lombardo