Wellmark Foundation grant
funds childhood obesity project in Linn County
Grant, chosen from 150 requests, targets 40 child care centers
February 15, 2011
(Des Moines, Iowa) – Linn County Public
Health will use a two-year, $150,000 grant from the Wellmark
Foundation to implement a childhood obesity prevention project
in child care centers across the county.
The Healthy Footsteps Project targets preschool-aged children
who attend child care centers, and their families, to decrease
the unusually high body mass index (BMI) rates of children
in Linn County. The effort will ultimately lead to an overall
reduction in at-risk and overweight kindergarten students.
Healthy Footsteps will address multiple levels of influence
that contribute to childhood obesity. Program goals include:
- Improving nutrition and physical activity policies in
child care centers
- Educating child care staff and children about nutrition
and physical activity
- Empowering parents to offer healthy foods and exercise
opportunities at home
Partners include Hawkeye Area Community Action Program, Linn
County Community Empowerment Board, the Healthy Linn Care
Network and the Healthy Living Coalition.
Grant one of only 17 competitively selected
The Wellmark Foundation is a non-profit foundation that seeks
to improve the health of Iowans, South Dakotans, and their
communities. Through its 2010 Healthy Communities Grant Program,
the Foundation received nearly 150 grant requests. This grant
award to Linn County Public Health represents one of 17 competitively
awarded to establish or expand health initiatives throughout
Iowa and South Dakota.
Cumulatively, The Wellmark Foundation is proud to award $1,334,817
to these 17 grants to serve as catalyst funding for local
“Parents and child care providers can make a big difference
in kids’ health by encouraging healthy behaviors,”
says Matt McGarvey, the Foundation’s director. “Improving
nutrition and physical activity at the preschool age offers
benefits that will last a lifetime.”
About Linn County Health Department
With nearly 200,000 residents, Linn County is the second most
populous county in the state of Iowa. There are 18 incorporated
communities and 11 villages. Linn County Health Department
specifically exists to prevent disease and injury, promote
healthy behavior, and protect the public and their environment.
For more information on the Linn County Health Department,
contact Dave Koch, (319) 892-6080 / firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information regarding the Wellmark Foundation and
its grant programs, visit www.wellmark.com/foundation.