Boston received a multi-million dollar grant to improve overall health and reduce obesity and hypertention among black and Latino residents of Boston.
The $4.6 million grant, funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was only awarded to two cities in the entire country, Boston and Los Angeles. The grant allows participation in the three-year REACH (Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health) program.
Mayor Thomas Menino said Boston was one of the first cities to address health disparities among diverse communities, and that he's "determined to stay at the forefront."
“I’m so proud of the work we’ve done to build strong partnerships to continue to improve the health and wellness of our city,” said Menino. “It takes leaders from across the community working together to address this challenge, and this new funding will help us continue to ensure that our progress towards a healthier city can be shared by all."
The Boston REACH project aligns closely with Mayor Menino’s Boston Moves for Health initiative, which encourages residents citywide to get active and maintain a healthy weight. You can find Boston Moves events happening in the South End here.
The city will concentrate its primary efforts in Dorchester, Roxbury, Mattapan, East Boston, and Hyde Park, the city will take a four-pronged approach to reduce chronic disease among black and Latino residents. Funding will support a strategy that includes:
- Expanding bicycling opportunities: Black and Latino residents in Boston are less likely than white residents to use the city’s Hubway bikeshare system or to report that they bike as a means of transportation and recreation. The program will work to increase resident engagement in the city’s bicycling initiatives, in part by providing subsidized Hubway memberships for low-income residents.
- Incorporating more physical activity in out-of-school programs: The YMCA of Greater Boston will receive help to design afterschool programs create more opportunities for physical activity.
- Increasing outdoor physical activity: Boston Public Health Commission will collaborate police and violence prevention coalitions to ensure that residents feel safe and eager to use the city’s green spaces for recreation and streetscapes for walking.
- Promoting healthy beverages: The Boston Public Health Commission will work to decrease consumption of sugary drinks and increase tap water availability at faith-based organizations, schools, early childcare and afterschool programs, youth sports leagues and programs, public housing developments, community health centers and neighborhood and social organizations.
Do you think these programs are a good use of the funding? What other obesity-fighting initiatives would you like to see supported in Charlestown? Tell us in the comments.