$401,124 grant will support program expansion and infrastructure
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., April 25 – The Michigan Health Endowment Fund recently announced $8 million in grant funding to organizations with projects focused in two categories: Nutrition and Healthy Lifestyle, and Community Health Impact. Health Net of West Michigan’s FitKids360 program was awarded $401,124 to support infrastructure and program expansion in the Nutrition and Healthy Lifestyles category.
FitKids360 is a free seven-week stage II pediatric obesity intervention program for children ages 5-16 that focuses on healthy lifestyle choices for the entire family. The program combines basic education about nutrition, behavior and exercise with a wide range of physical activities to help participants develop healthy habits, eat better and become more active. Children who have a Body Mass Index (BMI) at or above the 85th percentile for their age and gender can be referred to the program by their health care provider.
The grant funding will allow the FitKids360 program to expand its program to two additional Michigan communities and to increase capacity of current programing in Kent and Wayne Counties for English and Spanish-speaking families. These expansions will allow the program to reach more than 500 children and families.
“In our community and throughout the state there is a lack of low cost or free obesity resources for children and families,” said Keyuana Rosemond, FitKids360 Program Manager. “FitKids360 offers supportive programming that is inclusive of the entire family and focuses on healthy living and not weight loss.”
Included in the grant is funding to pilot “On the Move en Español”. On the Move is a 5K walk-to-run program for graduates of FitKids360 and their families. The pilot will offer materials and programming for Spanish-speaking families and will expand the number of families who can participate in On the Move.
“Grand Rapids and Detroit have large Spanish-speaking communities,” said Rosemond. “We want to offer classes that are culturally relevant and better serve the families in our communities.”
To offer support and motivation throughout the program, each family works with a volunteer mentor. Each session of FitKids360 and On the Move depend on mentor support for each family. For more information about becoming involved as a mentor or about the program, please contact FitKids360 at (616) 742- 8907.