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CentraCare Health Foundation Grants $450,000 for BLEND Program

Published in Media Releases Author: CentraCare

St. Cloud, Minn. - The CentraCare Health Foundation approved $450,000 over two years for the continuation of BLEND (Better Living Exercise & Nutrition Daily) at its board meeting in April. The funds will allow staff to focus their time and energies on the policy, systems and environmental changes needed to transform the way communities eat and engage in physical activity.

Since 2006, BLEND has engaged in the national effort to roll back the rising incidence of childhood obesity. Creating sustainable, systemic changes where people live, work, learn and play makes it easier for Minnesotans to incorporate healthy behaviors into their daily lives.

By 2016 BLEND will have made significant progress toward their goal of reducing body mass index (BMI) rates in adolescents by 10 percent by 2016 in Central Minnesota. In 2014, 29 percent of 12-year-old boys in the region were overweight or obese, compared with 40 percent overweight or obese in 2008. The Greater St. Cloud region’s downward trend runs counter to other Central Minnesota communities served by CentraCare, where overweight and obesity rates of 12-year-old boys increased from 34 percent in 2008 to 38 percent in 2014.

Success of this magnitude is credited to the strong, strategic alliances BLEND has established with medical providers, health insurance providers, state and local government, businesses, school districts, colleges, family and youth-serving organizations and more.

In order to create the sustainable changes necessary to support BLEND’s long-term goals, key strategies and programs need to be in place, including:

  • Healthy School Fundraising
  • Safe Routes to School
  • Nuval Nutritional Food Scoring System
  • Complete Streets policy