HHS Awards $372 Million in Prevention and Wellness Grants

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced awards of more than $372 million to 44 communities, to support public health efforts to reduce obesity and smoking, increase physical activity and improve nutrition.

The awards are part of the HHS Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) initiative, a comprehensive prevention and wellness initiative funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

“This is an unprecedented level of commitment to prevention,” first lady Michelle Obama, said in a news release. “Investing in local communities will build a healthier America, and we aim to reach more than 50 million people who are living in the communities receiving these awards.”

“We’re looking to create the healthy community environments that will help prevent heart attacks, strokes, cancer, diabetes, and other serious health problems on a broad scale,” HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius said. “And, by preventing and controlling chronic disease, we can start to turn around rising health care costs as well.”

CPPW awards to cities, towns, and tribes across the country will provide communities with the resources to create healthy choices for residents, such as increasing availability of healthy foods and beverages, improving access to safe places for physical activity, discouraging tobacco use, and encouraging smoke-free environments.

In addition to the public health benefits of the initiative, the competitively-awarded grants will also support putting Americans back to work — an essential component of winning plans. Communities will have 2 years to complete their programs.

Of the 44 communities receiving grants, 23 communities are receiving funding for obesity prevention; 14 communities for tobacco cessation; and seven others for both obesity and tobacco cessation efforts. The awards are being are distributed among communities of various sizes, with an average grant of $17.3 million to each large city grantee; an average of $7.7 million to urban areas; an average award of $4.7 million to small cities or rural areas, and an average award of $1.3 million to tribes.

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