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Healthcare Georgia Foundation Launches Statewide Program Targeting Physical Inactivity and Childhood Overweight in Georgia


  Toni Almasy
Avatar Communications, Inc.


$600,ooo in Grants Awarded to the Institute of Public Health and
the Georgia Coalition for Physical Activity and Nutrition

Atlanta, Georgia – July 19, 2004 – Healthcare Georgia Foundation today announced the launch of a statewide program to develop policies that promote physical activity and reduce the number of overweight children in Georgia. “Almost thirty percent of Georgia’s middle school students are overweight or at risk of being overweight and seventy percent do not attend physical education classes,” said Dr. Gary D. Nelson, president of Healthcare Georgia Foundation. “If we are to achieve the higher academic standards we seek in Georgia, our children must be healthy, energetic and ready to learn.”

Healthcare Georgia Foundation awarded two grants today, totaling $600,000, to the Institute of Public Health at Georgia State University and The Georgia Coalition for Physical Activity and Nutrition.

According to Dr. Michael Eriksen, director of the Institute of Public Health at Georgia State. “Obesity is quickly becoming the top public health problem in Georgia. The causes of overweight and obesity are complex and require thoughtful solutions based on the best science available. Working with our colleagues at the Medical College of Georgia and the University of Georgia, we look forward to providing scientific and policy leadership on this challenging public health issue. "

Lisa Stone, chairperson of the Georgia Coalition for Physical Activity and Nutrition added, "Children and adolescents who are physically active experience less stress and anxiety along with greater muscle and bone strength, making it easier to control their weight. Studies also show that when physical activity is increased at school, the student’s grades and attendance records improve."

The establishment of statewide policy leadership to address childhood inactivity and overweight was recommended by The Philanthropic Collaborative for a Healthy Georgia, a forum created to bring foundations together to explore health challenges facing Georgians. Speaking as a member of the Collaborative, and on behalf of Healthcare Georgia Foundation, Dr. Nelson said, “We believe that these two grant recipients will provide leadership for the adoption of scientifically sound policies that promote physical activity and healthy diets, resulting in a profound impact on the health of Georgians and our healthcare system.”

About Healthcare Georgia Foundation
Healthcare Georgia Foundation is a statewide, private independent foundation. The Foundation’s mission is to advance the health of all Georgians and to expand access to affordable, quality healthcare for underserved individuals and communities. Through its strategic grantmaking, Healthcare Georgia Foundation supports organizations that drive positive change, promotes programs that improve health and healthcare among underserved individuals and communities, and connects people, partners and resources across Georgia. For more information, please visit the Foundation online at: