cdcThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is awarding $9 million in grants this year to help 50 communities promote good health and reduce health disparities. Five organizations, including the American Heart Association, are receiving the grants to manage the effort.

The funding is expected to help reduce tobacco use and exposure and improve poor nutrition and increase physical activity in groups, including children; those receiving federal assistance; migrant farm workers; and college students.

As part of the grant program, the American Heart Association will receive $3 million per year for three years to help local communities develop and implement health initiatives.

Receiving similar grants are: The American Planning Association and National WIC Association, the non-profit education arm and advocacy voice of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children. Also receiving grants are the Association of State and Territorial Directors of Health Promotion and Public Health Education and the Society for Public Health Education.

The AHA plans to reach these 15 communities:

  • Hartford, Connecticut – nutrition;
  • Howard, Anne Arundel and Prince George Counties, Maryland – nutrition;
  • Incline Village/Washoe County, Nevada – smoke-free;
  • Bismarck/Mandan, North Dakota – nutrition;
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – nutrition;
  • Beaverton, Oregon – physical activity;
  • Southern Chester County, Pennsylvania – nutrition;
  • Providence, Rhode Island – nutrition and physical activity;
  • Memphis/Shelby County Region, Tennessee – nutrition;
  • Central Texas: Kyle, Buda, Round Rock, Georgetown, Cedar Park , Leander and Pflugerville – smoke-free;
  • Houston and Fort Bend County, Texas – smoke-free;
  • San Antonio, Texas – nutrition;
  • Hampton Roads, Virginia – nutrition;
  • Kanawha County, West Virginia – nutrition and physical activity; and
  • Fox Valley, south-central and central Wisconsin – nutrition and physical activity.

“The volunteers and staff of the American Heart Association look forward to working within each of these 15 communities to help develop effective population health approaches to prevent chronic disease and reduce health disparities,” said Nancy Brown, the association’s chief executive officer.

Brown said the AHA was proud to be part of the initiative and will work to help the communities develop lasting programs to advance healthy lifestyles.

“Our vision is a society in which all children enjoy a healthy weight and breathe clean air, no matter who they are or where they live,” said Jill Birnbaum, vice president of state advocacy for the AHA. She said that the AHA wants families to be able to access healthy foods at farmer’s markets; children to be more active at school and healthier foods at workplaces.

David Day, vice president of advocacy for the AHA’s Founder’s Affiliate, said the AHA will work to expand access to mid-sized grocery stores and farmer’s markets in Hartford, Connecticut. In Providence, Rhode Island, they’ll promote physical activity by working to increase community access to school facilities during off hours.

Aiding the efforts of AHA and other grantees are the Association of State and Territorial Directors of Health Promotion and Public Health Education and the Society for Public Health Education, which will receive grants for educational and training materials.