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South Dakota awarded $800,000 to help create healthier communities

Tuesday, September 27, 2011
CONTACT: Linda Ahrendt, (605) 773-3737 
South Dakota awarded $800,000 to help create healthier communities
PIERRE, S.D. – A $812,383 federal grant will help South Dakota communities reduce chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.  
The grant is a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Community Transformation Grants to support public health efforts to reduce chronic diseases, promote healthier lifestyles, reduce health disparities, and control health care spending. 
The South Dakota Department of Health submitted the application in partnership with the departments of Education, Game, Fish and Parks, and Social Services, the cities of Brookings, Huron, Pierre, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, and Watertown, and two Indian reservation communities to be determined by the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board.
“In the United States, chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are the leading causes of death, disability, and health care costs, accounting for 70% of all deaths each year and 75% of all medical costs. The picture is the same in South Dakota,” said Doneen Hollingsworth, Secretary of Health. “Although chronic diseases are among the most common and costly health problems in the country, they are also among the most preventable. This grant will help support community level efforts to reduce chronic diseases and their impact.”
Awards went to grantees in 36 states, with more than 20 percent of grant funds directed to rural and frontier areas. The grants are expected to run for five years, with projects expanding their scope and reach over time as resources permit.
“These were very competitive grants and we could not have secured the funding without the support of these communities,” noted Linda Ahrendt, Health Promotion Administrator for the department. “They have been part of this project from the beginning and are committed to adopting strategies that will make healthy choices the easy choices for their residents.”
South Dakota’s project will include strategies from all five of the strategic directions covered in the federal grant:
·         Tobacco – increase smoke-free multi-unit housing options, implement smoke-free parks, and increase the number of smoke-free schools and campuses;
·         Active living and healthy eating – increase fruit and vegetable intake and increase physical activity to prevent obesity in child care, schools, community, and worksites;
·         Quality clinical preventative services – implement high blood pressure standards, diabetes prevention, and chronic disease self-management;
·         Social and emotional wellness – increase local school health teams to improve physical activity and fruit and vegetable intake;
·         Healthy and safe physical environment – improve streets and trails for active transportation such as walking and biking.
To learn more about Community Transformation Grants, visit www.cdc.gov/communitytransformation.