Obesity grant awarded to Akron Children's Hospital Mahoning Vall - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Obesity grant awarded to Akron Children's Hospital Mahoning Valley

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BOARDMAN TOWNSHIP, Ohio -

The newly formed Mahoning Valley Healthy Kids Coalition has received a $150,000 grant from the William Swanston Charitable Fund to help kick off a new community-wide obesity initiative, which will be led by Akron Children's Hospital Mahoning Valley.

"The success of this program really relies on reaching far and wide through our community," said Dr. Elena Rossi, Akron Children's Hospital Mahoning Valley.

In Ohio, about 35% of kids are considered either overweight or obese. Those numbers are a tad higher in the Mahoning Valley, where 38% of kids in Mahoning County and 43% of kids in Trumbull County are overweight or obese.

Dr. Rossi added, "The success of this program is definitely dependent on parent involvement. So, with children who need intervention, those are children who have already been identified as obese or overweight. So, it will be a really key part of their success will be to engage the parents."

The coalition, which is made up of several groups including the Mahoning and Trumbull county health departments and schools, the Davis and Central YMCA's and the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County, has outlined three goals for the program, prevention, intervention and awareness. They hope to provide parent workshops to help prevent obesity, intervene with fitness programming for children who are at risk and raise awareness through nutrition education.

"This is a lifelong goal for our area and we really need to prevent obesity and overweight children," said Dr. Rossi.

While the funding will cover costs related to the first year of the program, Akron Children's Hospital Mahoning Valley will commit at least three years to the initiative.

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