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N.D. awarded grant for health communities' programs

North Dakota is one of eight states to be awarded a $20,000 grant to support the development of physical activity and nutrition programs in five communities, according to Deanna Askew, Healthy Weight coordinator for the North Dakota Department of Health.

The award is part of a collaborative research grant between the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, a national association of state health agency chronic disease prevention professionals, and Klein Buendel, a health education media research firm. The primary source of the funding is the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

The grants were awarded based on the strength of each state's history and ability to build and sustain partnerships with state- and community-level organizations with the capacity to build community-based health initiatives in obesity prevention.

In 2007, 65 percent of North Dakotans were either overweight or obese. Being overweight or obese is associated with heart disease, certain types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, stroke, arthritis, breathing problems, and psychological disorders, such as depression.

The funding will be used to provide $3,000 mini-grants to five North Dakota communities for the planning and implementation of physical activity and/or nutrition programs designed to improve quality of life and reduce the risk of overweight and obesity in their communities. The communities that receive the mini-grants will be expected to work with a coalition of organizations vested in improving physical activity opportunities and the nutritional

status of their residents. These groups also will become part of a research project that will test various methods of project management. The planning and implementation of community projects will take place between July 1, 2009, and July 31, 2010.