Thursday, June 7, 2007
Foundation delivers $10,000
The Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi presented a check for $10,000 to Marshall County to help Stamp Out Childhood Obesity (SOCO).
The money will help fund educational outreach programs for youngsters in grades K-6.
A group of local citizens has worked since the Regional Health Summit in November to develop a local action plan to prevent childhood obesity. The Community Foundation has worked with this local health council and is supporting its action plan to improve the health of local children.
“This is going to work well with our schools, with childhood health on the forefront in education,” said Lorena Adams, nurse at Holly Springs Primary School. “We’ve got to do so much.”
The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation made a significant grant to the Community Foundation to support its regional “Get A Life! My Life, My Health, My Choice” summit and make possible the $10,000 grant.
Obesity is a major problem throughout the United States with childhood obesity rates more than tripling in the last 15 years. Mississippi is at the top of that skyrocketing growth with the nation’s highest percentage of obese children.
Obesity is a major health problem with its links to diabetes, heart disease, strokes, cancer and other life-threatening diseases. In children, studies have shown that obesity also may harm academic performance. It is expensive. Obesity costs Mississippi taxpayers in additional Medicaid costs alone more than $750 million every year.
“A former U.S. Surgeon General has noted that with the nation’s skyrocketing rate of childhood obesity, this generation may become the first in history to live shorter lives than their parents,” said Tom Pittman, Community Foundation president. “We owe our children better than that.”
The Foundation’s “Get A Life!” initiative works with children and their parents in schools, places of work and churches throughout Northwest Mississippi. Its goal is to educate about the causes – in addition to genetics – of obesity and help children change their eating habits and engage in more physical activity.
The Community Foundation is a charitable organization serving eight Northwest Mississippi counties – Coahoma, DeSoto, Marshall, Panola, Quitman, Tallahatchie, Tate and Tunica. The five-year-old foundation has received donations from more than 500 regional residents and made contributions to more than 200 non-profit organizations. It is encouraging a local countywide endowment as a permanent asset to support local community improvement efforts, such as childhood fitness. The Community Foundation has committed to add $25,000 to the first $100,000 raised locally.
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