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Horizon Awards $300,000 to Fight Childhood Obesity

Horizon Foundation awards grants to promote positive lifestyles that reduce obesity in Howard County.

 

The Columbia-based Horizon Foundation announced Wednesday it was awarding $300,000 in grants to address childhood obesity in Howard County.

The grants were awarded to three local organizations that can directly impact child obesity—the , the Howard County Public School System and FIRN, an organization that works with immigrants to help them access community resources and opportunities.

One in four children in the county is overweight or obese, according to the Horizon Foundation.

"We really want to tackle major public health issues," said Horizon's president and CEO Nicolette Highsmith Vernick.

The health department was awarded $86,000 per year over two years to aid pediatricians and family physicians with obesity prevention measures.  According to the statement, the training will encourage physicians to discuss sugary drink consumption and calculate body mass index.

The public schools received $125,000 to fund a web-based student fitness assessment program for grades 4-9, which will allow physical education teachers to assess students' fitness and collect fitness data. All 74 county schools will participate in the program, according to Horizon.

"The use of technology will allow teachers more flexibility, create faster data analysis and allow them to send information to parents in a more streamlined way," said Highsmith Vernick.

FIRN received $90,000 to develop a community health worker to promote healthy lifestyles among Latino families. Horizon noted that Latino populations have a significantly higher rate of childhood obesity than the general population.

Highsmith Vernick said the grants were awarded through a competitive grant process.

The Horizon Foundation is an independent philanthropy focused on improving health and wellness in Howard County, according to the organization's website.

Jack September 14, 2012 at 05:32 AM
"he public schools received $125,000 to fund a web-based student fitness assessment program for grades 4-9, which will allow physical education teachers to assess students' fitness and collect fitness data. All 74 county schools will participate in the program, according to Horizon." "The use of technology will allow teachers more flexibility, create faster data analysis and allow them to send information to parents in a more streamlined way," said Highsmith Vernick. O.K. now tell us exactly what the money is to be spent on and what we get for it? Now I am real curious, what information will they send the parents real quick? Are they going to convey their findings our children are overweight or obese like we as parents don't already know this? So what you really want is to educate parents on obesity. Create a healthy parent partnership. Maybe we could fire Klatco and discuss with our food service workers what needs to be done in oue cafeterias. How about bringing recess and PE back to our schools. Middle schools sports are desperately needed. We need freshman sports. Make all children eligible for high school sports. Kick out Siddiqui who just happens to be a pediatrician and has yet to do anything about this problem. With community participation all of this is free
JJ September 14, 2012 at 04:22 PM
More money down the drain. I just reviewed the Horizon Foundation's view on the causes of childhood obesity from their "experts". Some key myths they believe in and support are: 1)Ingestion of fat increases obesity rate. 2)Ingestion of larger amounts of food is a cause for obesity. 3)Being more sedentary is a cause for obesity. All these myths continue the perpetuation of the failed ideas that came about several decades ago. The recipients of the money will also regurgitate this failed notion that if kids: Eat less fat (thereby ingesting more carbohydrate), they'll lose weight. If they move more, they'll lose weight (failing to realize exercise causes the body to demand more fuel, is not good for weight loss). If they eat less, they'll lose weight (calorie restriction has proven to be unsustainable, damaging to internal organs and a lost cause). Simply stating someone should eat less doe not combat the cause for obesity - a metabolic issue involving fat storage and release. It is not a mental disorder and current advice from organizations like Horizon, USDA and Michelle Obama are not working. Check out a new initiative that will put scientific dietary advice in place: http://www.nusi.org

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