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Health and Family Services Cabinet
Department for Public Health Announces Healthy Communities Awardees

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, July 14, 2009  
Contact Information:  Gwenda Bond or Beth Fisher, (502) 564-6786, ext. 3325 and 4012  

Three Local Health Departments Receive Grants to Make Communities Healthier Places to Live

Three local health departments will receive grants from the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) to help make their communities more conducive to healthy lifestyles, DPH announced today.

The Jackson County Health Department in McKee; WEDCO Health Department in Cynthiana; and the Madison County Health Department in Berea will each receive $36,000 over the next year to support three projects known as the Healthy Community Initiative. Projects will include:

─ The development and/or enhancement of access to community walking paths, biking paths and sidewalks and promoting their use to increase physical activity.

─ The development of policies to increase access to healthy foods and physical activity utilizing evidence-based programs to support policies.

─ The implementation of policies to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke.

“With the Healthy Communities Initiative, we want to assist communities in creating environments where individuals and families have access to safe places for physical activity, healthier food options in all neighborhoods and more smoke-free public places,” said Gov. Steve Beshear. “Each project is fundamental to ensuring that people of all ages and abilities can be part of a healthy community.”

Each grantee partnered with local organizations and community leaders on their Healthy Communities plan, including members of city and county governments, health departments, Chambers of Commerce, boards of education, agricultural extension offices and members of the community. From there, the three awardees scored the highest average point totals in the areas of increasing physical activity among citizens; improved access to nutritious food; and reduced tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke. They also demonstrated the greatest potential for immediate action in addressing these areas.

“Kentucky continually ranks low when it comes to the health of our citizens. In addition to high obesity rates, we also are a leader in physical inactivity, poor nutrition and tobacco use,” said DPH Commissioner William Hacker, M.D. “The Healthy Communities Initiative awardees will be able to make immediate and future impacts by implementing proven public health strategies and creating plans to sustain their efforts for years to come.”

The Healthy Communities Initiative is the first endeavor toward a Healthy Communities Certificate Program, which will highlight communities successful in implementing strategies to increase physical activity, improve access to healthier food options and reduce smoking and secondhand smoke exposure.

DPH, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Healthy Communities Program, Kentucky’s Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program, the Kentucky Osteoporosis Program and the Preventive Health Services Block Grant fund the program.

For more information about the Healthy Communities Initiative or the upcoming Healthy Communities conference on Aug. 12, contact Brian Boisseau, Healthy Communities program manager, at or call (502) 564-9358.


Last Updated 7/14/2009