Ahoskie receives ‘healthy’ grant

Published 8:35 am Tuesday, September 7, 2010

AHOSKIE – There’s nothing better than a good workout to whip the body and mind in shape.

Nearly $25,000 towards that effort doesn’t hurt either.

The Town of Ahoskie is one of 11 municipalities across North Carolina to be awarded grants to promote active lifestyles in their communities and influence state policy as it relates to physical activity and health.

The grants were awarded by the N.C. Division of Public Health’s Physical Activity and Nutrition Branch as part of its Built Environment Policy Initiative Grants Program.

Funding for this initiative comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) award to North Carolina. Ahoskie will receive $24,999 as well as technical assistance and access to multiple training events to improve their knowledge and skills in health, policy, advocacy and media. Funds will be awarded over a 15-month period.

A new CDC report shows that more than 29 percent of North Carolina adults consider themselves obese. Data shows that nine states had an obesity rate of 30 percent or higher in 2009 – an increase over zero states in 2000 and three states in 2005.

Ahoskie will help pave the way to healthier living by informing state level policy on physical activity and the built environment (bike lanes, greenways, pedestrian crossings, sidewalks, trails, playgrounds etc). Selected communities will help to identify key policy barriers and gaps based upon their experience with policy in the overlapping areas of transportation, environment, commerce and health.

The work of the communities will help form an action plan to improve policies within North Carolina government that promote healthy environments and active lifestyles in North Carolina communities.

Tina Pritchard, Recreation Director, commented that the Town of Ahoskie is pleased to accept this grant as the first step in creating our new bicycle plan.

“This grant will allow us to begin mapping and signing bike and walking trails through our town,” Pritchard said.  “This is the beginning of a long term commitment to provide our citizens safe routes for physical activity and healthier living.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has funded the Built Environment Policy Initiative Grants Program as part of the State Supplemental Funding for Healthy Communities, Tobacco Control, Diabetes Prevention and Control, and Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

Work to be completed by these communities supports Eat Smart, Move More North Carolina, a statewide movement that promotes healthy eating and physical activity wherever people live, learn, earn, play and pray.

To learn more about the movement, visit www.EatSmartMoveMoreNC.com.

For more information on Ahoskie project, contact the Ahoskie Town Manager at 252-332-5146.