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Nemours and the GiveWell Community Foundation Team Up to Support Healthy Habits Early In Life

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Children and families of Polk County, Fla. will soon benefit from a $20,000 Impact Polk grant from the George W. Jenkins Fund within the GiveWell Community Foundation and a project designed by Nemours Florida Prevention Initiative (FPI) to establish healthy habits in the first five years of life.
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Through this project, Nemours FPI will work with collaborative partners, Early Learning Coalition (ELC) of Polk County and Lakeland Regional Health (LRH) to extend Healthy Habits First Five Years in Polk County. The project uses a train-the-trainer model and helps childcare providers develop wellness policies. The sites also receive technical assistance that will help them sustain healthy eating and physical activity best practices that will help create a healthier early learning environment.
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"We're excited to extend the success of our work from a prior grant in Orange County to promote healthy habits and reduce the risk for early childhood obesity with a cohort of early learning programs in Polk," says Kelly Rogers, program manager, Nemours FPI. "This is the first time we will be able to engage child care providers in Polk County in adopting best practices and addressing the potentially avoidable risk behaviors associated with childhood obesity. We want to help children develop positive associations with eating fruits and vegetables, being physically active and drinking water when they are thirsty."
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Over the 12-month pilot-test project, a team of early learning and health care professionals will be trained from a wellness policy workbook originally developed by Nemours that reaches 600 children, age 0 to 5, among a group of participating early learning centers. Long-term impact includes increased awareness of positive health habits, reduced morbidity and mortality rates, and overall lower healthcare costs.
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"By encouraging healthful eating and activity in early life, children will have the foundation for healthy habits in life," says Lloyd Werk, MD, MPH, division chief of general academic pediatrics and director of Nemours Healthy Choices Clinic.
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"Child care providers will receive tools, resources and support to meet best practices related to healthy eating and physical activity in an early learning setting while families receive information to continue these healthy habits at home," says Rogers. "Helping children grow up healthy and ready to learn is what we want to achieve and we cannot do this without engaging those involved in a child's life where they live, learn and play."
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About GiveWell Community Foundation
GiveWell Community Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity serving Polk, Hardee, and Highlands county. The Community Foundation holds more than 300 charitable funds established by individuals, families, organizations, and private foundations and provides a wide variety of charitable services. For more than 20 years, the GiveWell Community Foundation and its fundholders have been investing in the future of our community through impactful, philanthropic giving.


 
 
 
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