Whole Child Leon Receives Grant to Address Childhood Obesity

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Whole Child Leon Receives Grant to Address Childhood Obesity

Tallahassee, Fla. – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Foundation (BCBSF Foundation) today awarded a $98,472 grant to Whole Child Leon, a strategic initiative of United Way of the Big Bend. The one-year grant will use 95210-The Whole Picture of Health (TWPH), a comprehensive strategy to improve health prospects for Tallahassee’s lower-income children and their families that uses an asset-based approach.

95210-TWPH is a community-wide effort that began in area child care centers to promote behavioral and policy change each day around sleep (nine hours), nutrition (five fruits and vegetables), physical activity (two hours or more), recreational screen time (one hour or less) and tobacco (zero). 95210-TWPH has since evolved into the backbone for Tallahassee's comprehensive efforts to change neighborhood food environments, increase physical activity and educate pediatricians and health and human service agency professionals about childhood obesity prevention.

“On behalf of Whole Child Leon and our grant partners, I would like to thank Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Foundation for this generous funding that will give us the ability to continue and to enhance the good work already being done to address the obesity crisis facing our community,” said Courtney Atkins, Executive Director of Whole Child Leon.

Through its Embrace a Healthy Florida childhood obesity initiative, BCBSF Foundation is addressing the causes of childhood obesity through community engagement in six communities across Florida and through grants, to support promising practices and applied research.

“National statistics indicate that childhood obesity has tripled in the past 30 years. This troubling trend is documented in Florida, too,” said Susan B. Towler, Vice President of BCBSF Foundation. “We are excited to partner with Whole Child Leon to eliminate this widespread threat to children, families, communities and the health care system.”
In addition to receiving this generous grant, Whole Child Leon has another reason to celebrate. This year’s National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) Joseph W. Cullen Award recipient is Courtney Atkins, Executive Director of Whole Child Leon. NACDD Chief Executive Officer John Robitscher today presented her with the award.

“These awards are not perfunctory obligations that we hand out each year. Rather, they reflect the highest levels of accomplishment and impact related to chronic disease,” Robitscher said. “This accomplishment ranks among the highest in the field of chronic disease nationally. It is an award that has been given to only a few, select individuals over the last quarter century. Courtney is in the company of truly great contributors to the prevention and control of chronic disease.”

Atkins helped to establish wellness and nutrition initiatives in pre-K classrooms and area child care centers and has worked tirelessly to address the childhood obesity epidemic with the promotion of 95210: TWPH. Through partnerships with the Leon County Health Department, Leon County Schools and the Early Learning Coalition, this initiative is active in 24 pre-K classrooms in Leon County Schools and four centers contracted through the Early Learning Coalition.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Foundation’s grant to Whole Child Leon comes a day after the Foundation gave $200,000 to 22 community organizations focused on fighting childhood obesity.
Whole Child Leon is a strategic initiative of the United Way of the Big Bend and works to create a community where everyone works together to make sure all children thrive. Other Whole Child Leon initiatives include free developmental screenings days for children 6 months to 5 years, creating and promoting uniform kindergarten readiness expectations, and an online tool that connects parents and families to over 2,500 resources and services in our area. For more information, please visit www.wholechildleon.com.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Foundation is a separate, philanthropic affiliate of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida (BCBSF) incorporated in the state of Florida. BCBSF Foundation and its parent, BCBSF, are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. For more information on BCBSF Foundation, please visit www.bluefoundationfl.com.

The National Association of Chronic Disease Directors is a 24-year-old non-profit organization that links together Department of Health chronic disease practitioners in each US state and Territory to reduce the impact of chronic disease on the American population. For more information, please visit www.chronicdisease.org.

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