UAMS Awarded $3.29M to Reduce Obesity Rates

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018 9:20 am   2 min read

The Department of Family & Preventive Medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock has received a $3.29 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention for a five-year project to reduce obesity, increase physical activity and improve nutrition in Arkansas, especially in the Delta.

The State Physical Activity & Nutrition project funding became available on Oct. 1 and was awarded to the department's Community Health & Education Division.

Alysia Dubriske, director of Community Health & Education at UAMS, is leading the grant.

"The whole premise of this grant is to try to reduce obesity rates," Dubriske said. "The CDC has identified target areas, including access to better nutrition, increasing breastfeeding, encouraging healthier foods and physical activity in early childcare centers, and improving activity-friendly communities."

The project's goals are to:

  • Develop and implement food service guidelines for food pantries, early childhood education centers, developmental disability day centers and local parks.
  • Support breastfeeding by partnering with family practice clinics, early childhood education centers and developmental disability day centers and by offering continuing medical education hours and early childhood center and developmental disability center professional development training.
  • Partner with communities to create activity-friendly routes to connect everyday destinations by implementing local policies to include bike routes, sidewalks and trails that increase safety and access for all abilities.
  • Implement nutrition standards and physical activity standards into early childhood education centers across the state by changing the Quality and Improvement Rating System in Arkansas to increase physical activity, increase nutrition and physical activity education to staff, and decrease screen time.

UAMS staff will be working in partnership with people and organizations across Arkansas, and especially in counties where life expectancy is lower than national and state averages. Many rural counties in the eastern Arkansas Delta fall into this category due to high rates of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, low physical activity, poverty and due to lack of access to health care.



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