LOS ANGELES, Jan. 31, 2017 — Youth Policy Institute (YPI) was awarded $880,000 from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health with funding from the California Department of Public Health and the United States Department of Agriculture. The grant will support implementation of the Champions for Change – Healthy Communities Initiative, which aims to reduce the prevalence of obesity among low-income Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed) eligible populations by providing nutrition education, physical activity promotion, and working to create healthier environments for low-income individuals and families where they live, learn, work, play, and shop.
Key efforts under the initiative include teaching fundamental skills such as cooking, reading food labels, shopping on a budget, growing fruits and vegetables, and introducing low-cost and fun ways to be physically active. In addition, champions in communities throughout the county will be identified to help improve access to healthier foods and increase opportunities to be physically active in a variety of settings, including early childcare centers, schools, corner stores, parks, worksites, and cities.
“Youth Policy Institute is pleased to be a part of this county-wide initiative, as we are uniquely positioned to reach elementary and middle school students in the Los Angeles Promise Zone,” explained Dixon Slingerland, President & CEO, Youth Policy Institute. “This award will be integrated with additional support from the federal government to make healthier foods more affordable and available as well as identify ways to integrate physical activity into the day to improve the overall health of families.”
By investing in our communities and the people that we serve, we are hopeful that we can make impactful, long-lasting changes for better health outcomes.
According to the L.A. County: A Cities and Communities Health Report, obesity-related chronic illnesses continue to rank among the top 10 leading causes of premature death, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. While the obesity epidemic continues to impact virtually all population groups, about 27% of children and 20% of adults in the Metro L.A. area are obese. Childhood obesity rates in communities Boyle Heights, Central City, Downtown L.A., Echo Park, El Sereno, Hollywood, Mid-City Wilshire, Monterey Hills, Mount Washington, Silverlake, West Hollywood, and Westlake are far higher than the average rate of 13.3% across Los Angeles County.
“Reducing obesity is a priority of Public Health and a key objective of the Champions for Change – Healthy Communities Initiative,” said Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, Interim Health Officer of Los Angeles County. “By investing in our communities and the people that we serve, we are hopeful that we can make impactful, long-lasting changes for better health outcomes.”