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Grant funds diet, exercise program

February 13, 2008

Media Contact: Lorelei Jones, Expanded Food and Nutrition Program (EFNEP) Coordinator, North Carolina Cooperative Extension, 919-515-9140 or lorelei_jones@ncsu.edu; or Jimmy Newkirk, assistant head, Physical Activity and Nutrition Branch, N.C. Division of Public Health, 919-707-5218 or jimmy.newkirk@ncmail.net

North Carolina Cooperative Extension's Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) and the state Division of Public Health's Physical Activity and Nutrition Branch have been awarded a $256,710 grant from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust of Winston-Salem to pilot the Faithful Families Eating Smart and Moving More program.

The Faithful Families program will work with 10 low-resource faith communities in Harnett County during the pilot year. The program will implement research-based policies, programs and environmental changes to promote healthy eating and physical activity for faith community members.

"Our organizations have a strong history of partnership at both the state and local levels," said Dr. Marshall Stewart, Associate Director, N.C. Cooperative Extension. "The grant from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust will give us additional resources to extend the reach of our programs, resources and tools to faith communities in low-income areas of North Carolina."

Stewart also serves as head of the Department of 4-H Youth Development and Family and Consumer Sciences at North Carolina State University. EFNEP is a federally funded educational program conducted through Cooperative Extension in every state. It is designed to help limited-resource youth and families with children learn to eat healthier meals and snacks, stretch their food dollars and reduce the risk of food-borne illnesses.

Based on congregational and member health assessments, project staff will work with faith communities to develop an action plan for the year. Project staff will provide the training, technical assistance and printed materials needed to implement the faith community's yearly action plan. Project staff will also work to connect each faith community to local resources, offering them options for future program development and sustainability. Additionally, an EFNEP program associate hired for the project will train lay leaders identified by faith community leadership to conduct a series of classes using the newly developed Faithful Families Eating Smart and Moving More curriculum.

This project was built out of the long-term collaboration between N.C. Cooperative Extension and the N.C. Division of Public Health. The two organizations convened a group of state-level, inter-faith stakeholders in July 2007 to discuss the needs of faith communities interested in promoting healthy eating and physical activity. Several of these stakeholders now serve on the physical activity, nutrition and faith advisory committee, providing oversight for the Faithful Families program.

"Over 62 percent of North Carolina adults are overweight or obese," said Dr. Leah Devlin, State Health Director. "Because obesity rates continue to rise, interventions like Faithful Families are imperative to help North Carolina citizens eat smart and move more."

The North Carolina Agricultural Foundation at N.C. State University will serve as the fiscal agent for this grant to support the work of the two partner organizations.

The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust was created in 1947 by the will of Mrs. William N. Reynolds of Winston-Salem. Three-fourths of the Trust's grants are designated for use for health-related programs and services across North Carolina and one-fourth for the poor and needy of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County.

For more information, contact Lorelei Jones, EFNEP coordinator at lorelei_jones@ncsu.edu or 919-515-9140 or Jimmy Newkirk, assistant head, Physical Activity and Nutrition Branch, Division of Public Health, at jimmy.newkirk@ncmail.net or 919-707-5218.

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Posted by Dave at February 13, 2008 08:58 AM