The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has received a $1 million grant from Kaiser Permanente to enhance the HEAL (Healthy Eating Active Living) Zone Initiative, which supports healthier neighborhoods and healthier people in North Long Beach.
“This grant funding will help provide new opportunities for walking and biking along safe routes, buying affordable fresh fruits and vegetables close to home, exercising in parks, and participating in active after-school programs,” said Mayor Robert Garcia.
HEAL Zones are designed to help make healthy choices accessible to more people in underserved communities and, in turn, to prevent diseases such as diabetes and hypertension that often result from obesity.
"I am proud that the North Long Beach community will be receiving a second phase of support from Kaiser Permanente to support Ninth District neighborhoods,” said Councilmember Rex Richardson. “For years, the HEAL Zone and the Coalition for a Healthy North Long Beach have been a driving force in the Uptown Renaissance, inspiring healthier environments and lifestyles in our community. I look forward to continuing this great progress in the years to come.”
Since January 2012, DHHS has partnered with the Coalition for a Healthy North Long Beach, which includes community leaders, non-profit organizations, the Long Beach Unified School District, and other City departments, to improve healthy eating and physical activity practices in neighborhoods, schools, and clinics. That effort helped address the growing obesity epidemic by supporting community transformation with the goal of creating changes that support lasting health improvements for residents of North Long Beach over time.
As part of HEAL Zone Phase 2, the DHHS will continue to partner with the Coalition for a Healthy North Long Beach to implement strategies that will:
• Increase the consumption of healthy foods and beverages,
• Increase physical activity, and
• Improve the prevention, treatment, and management of obesity and its related conditions.
“Poor nutrition and lack of exercise are key drivers of diabetes, obesity and heart disease,” said Kelly Colopy, Director of Health and Human Services. “Increasing education, access to healthy foods and safe, fun places to exercise makes health easier. It takes all of us working together to make this possible.”
The grant is part of a larger Kaiser Permanente HEAL Zone investment to promote healthy communities across Southern California in collaboration with community partners. For more information, visit http://healzones.org