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Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky investsin future of seven rural, urban communities

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The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky has chosen Fitness for Life Around Grant County as one of seven rural and urban communities funded by the new Investing in Kentucky’s Future initiative.
This five-year, $3 million program seeks to test innovative ways to reduce risks of chronic disease for today’s school-aged children as they grow into adults.
“The health of our next generation is at stake,” said Susan Zepeda, CEO and president of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. “Our goal is to help communities make positive changes in policies and service access that will help our children grow into healthy, productive adults. Regardless of the challenges, we want to help communities find new pathways to positive solutions.”
FFLAG’s initial grant of $21,643 includes funding for planning, training and technical assistance so community groups can determine the most promising strategies to launch effective, sustainable models to improve children’s health.
“We are pleased and excited to be given the opportunity to work with the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky,” said Jeff Walters, chairman of Fitness for Life Around Grant County. “We are a small group that has been working on improving the health of our community and we believe we’ve had a positive impact thus far. This grant will accelerate the process and the work that’s been started.”
FFLAG and the Northern Kentucky Health Department will collect and analyze local health data. Then they will use this information to develop ideas and implement solutions to help children avoid chronic diseases and grow to be healthy, thriving adults.
Chronic diseases are diseases that last over time, decrease quality of life and increase the risk of early death. They include conditions like cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Substance abuse and some mental illnesses are also chronic. These chronic diseases occur at higher rates in Kentucky than in surrounding states. National statistics reveal Kentucky’s children are at greater risk than the national average in several chronic disease factors:
· Almost four in 10 (37 percent) between the ages of 10 and 17 are overweight or obese.
· One in every 400 children and adolescents either has or will be diagnosed with diabetes.
· More than one in four (26 percent) high school students smoke cigarettes.
· When children grow into adulthood, Kentucky is above the national average in deaths from heart disease, cancer and stroke.
The Foundation relies on local leaders to identify critical health needs and focus investments to have the greatest community impact.
“This grant is the first step in a multi-year investment in lasting solutions for healthier communities,” said Zepeda. “We believe that by working together on the local level, civic leaders with vision can develop innovative strategies to improve the health of our children.”
Along with FFLAG, other partners chosen for the IKF initiative include:
· Clinton County School District
· Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky
· Green River Area Development District
· Kentucky Heart Foundation, Inc.
· Kentucky River Community Care, Inc.
· Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness
From FHK

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