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TSET Awards $1.35 million in Nutrition and Fitness Community Grants

OKLAHOMA CITY (May 13, 2011) – The Board of Directors of the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) during its quarterly meeting approved funding for 15 new grants in the Communities of Excellence Nutrition and Fitness program. These new grants, awarded to community coalitions, will serve 21 counties across the state. The board approved $1.35 million for the first funding cycle of the five year program.

Coalitions receiving funding in the Communities of Excellence in Nutrition and Fitness are:

Atoka/Coal Partnership for Change serving Atoka and Coal Counties
Lead agency: INCA Community Services, Inc.

Bryan County Turning Point serving Bryan County  
Lead agency: Bryan County Health Department

Carter County Turning Point serving Carter County
Lead agency: Carter County Health Department

Cleveland County Turning Point serving Cleveland County
Lead agency: Norman Regional Health Systems, Inc.

Family Health Coalition serving Tulsa County  
Lead agency: Tulsa County Health Department

Fit Communities – Love and Johnston Consortium serving Love and Johnston Counties 
Lead agency: Johnston County Health Department

Fit Kids of Southwest Oklahoma serving Comanche County  
Lead agency: Comanche County Health Department

Jackson County Community Health Action Team serving Jackson County
Lead agency: Jackson County Health Department

Kiowa Coalition and Caddo County Interagency Coalition serving Kiowa and Caddo Counties  
Lead agency: Great Plains Youth and Family Services

Logan County Partnership serving Logan County
Lead agency: Logan County Health Department

Muskogee County Turning Point serving Muskogee County 
Lead agency: Muskogee County Health Departmenf

Oklahoma Unified Resources (OUR) Turning Point Coalition serving Beckham and Rogers Counties.
Lead agency: City of Elk City Youth and Family Programs

Okmulgee County Wellness Coalition serving Okmulgee County
Lead agency: Okmulgee County Health Department

Tri-County Consortium serving McCurtain, Choctaw and Pushmataha Counties
Lead agency: McCurtain County Health Department

Wellness Now Coalition serving Oklahoma County
Lead agency: Oklahoma City-County Health Department

“These grants are an important step forward in the fulfillment of TSET’s strategic plan,” said Ken Rowe, TSET Board of Directors Chair. “We are very excited about launching the new Communities of Excellence in Nutrition and Fitness to complement the work already being funded in tobacco prevention and cessation across the state. Communities are ready to address health issues, such as poor nutrition and lack of physical activity, which have negative impacts on the individuals, families and businesses in our own towns.  Through these grants, we will begin to see healthier people, healthier communities and a healthier Oklahoma.”

The Communities of Excellence in Nutrition and Fitness program funds community-based coalitions to work with schools, communities, workplaces and businesses to implement effective policies and programs that promote opportunities for healthy eating and physical activity.  The grants will begin with a 15 month start-up/planning period.  Funding in future implementation years will see an increase in funds awarded to coalitions based on population and strategic plans.

Over the five-year granting cycle, grantees will be encouraged to creatively and innovatively implement promising and best practices, strategies and interventions within communities based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and other scientific sources, that have promise or have proven to increase healthy eating and physical activity. The ultimate goal is an eventual reduction in Oklahoma’s increasing obesity rates, and the resulting physical and financial toll on individuals, communities, and the State of Oklahoma.

In addition to direct financial support to the grantees, training and technical assistance to support the grantees will be provided in partnership with the Oklahoma State Department of Health Turning Point Initiative, Strong and Healthy Oklahoma Division, and experts from a variety of organizations currently involved in promoting healthy eating and active living in Oklahoma communities. An external evaluation of the program will be provided through the Oklahoma State University Department of Nutritional Sciences.

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The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) serves as a partner and bridge builder for organizations working towards shaping a healthier future for all Oklahomans. TSET provides leadership at the intersections of health by working with local coalitions and initiatives across the state, by cultivating innovative and life-changing research, and by working across public and private sectors to develop, support, implement and evaluate creative strategies to take advantage of emerging opportunities to improve the public’s health. TSET – Better Lives Through Better Health.