Growing Healthy Communities (GHC) is a project developed by the Arkansas Coalition for Obesity Prevention (ArCOP) in 2009 to build capacity within local communities to reduce obesity by implementing environmental and policy changes that support healthy living, including increased physical activity and access to healthy foods. The GHC project is a collaborative effort that has received support from the Blue and You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas, the Arkansas Department of Health’s CDC Cooperative Agreement, UAMS Partners for Inclusive Communities, and the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute.
Through a grant process, communities have been selected to participate in an immersion training event, with required attendance by the mayor and other decision leaders. During the training, participants network with and learn from national, state, and local leaders about policy and environmental changes that will promote healthy lifestyles. Each community delegation is then assisted in creating a plan to address specific areas of need in their community and provided with funding to help them implement their plans. ACHI staff participated in the planning and execution of these trainings and selection of appropriate resource materials to support community action. Between 2009 and 2012, ArCOP funded 22 GHC sites.
In 2013, with support from the Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas and significant in-kind and volunteer contributions, ArCOP conducted five regional training summits throughout the state and provided over $90,000 in grants to a total of 45 regional healthy community projects.
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