The Aetna Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Aetna (NYSE: AET),
has awarded a $40,000 grant to The Center Helping Obesity In Children
End Successfully (C.H.O.I.C.E.S.), an Atlanta-based nonprofit
organization that works with communities in the metropolitan area to
fight childhood obesity. The grant will support three of the
organization's obesity-prevention programs.
"Childhood is a critical period for developing a predisposition to
lifelong obesity," said Sharon Dalton, vice president of the Aetna
Foundation and director of its regional grant making. "Data show that
upwards of three-quarters of obese children become obese adults.
Obesity's impact on overall health can be devastating. By reaching out
to at-risk children and their families, C.H.O.I.C.E.S.'s expanded
efforts have great potential to help children in Greater Atlanta enjoy
good health throughout their lives."
C.H.O.I.C.E.S. will use the grant to present its program for young
women, Sisters in the L.I.T.E. (Lifestyle Intervention Teaching
Exercises); its parent workshops, We Can! Make Healthy CHOICES; and its
eighth annual Children's Nutrition Education and Physical Activity Expo,
scheduled for March 23, 2013. The programs will teach kids and adults
ways to eat healthier, be more physically active and engage in lasting
healthy lifestyle behaviors.
"We are very excited about the impact the Aetna Foundation's grant can
make. Our focus is on underserved communities where obesity-related
diseases are prevalent. This grant will increase our programming in
metropolitan Atlanta and increase our ability to partner with other
health-focused, nonprofit organizations, thereby reaching more
children," said Vanetta Keyes, founder and executive director,
Obesity is both a local and national health concern. For the first time
in U.S. history, the current generation of children may live sicker,
shorter lives than their parents, primarily due to obesity-related
diseases. According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, a high
proportion of the state's young people are obese: 15 percent of children
aged 2-4 years in the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, 24
percent of third-grade children, 15 percent of middle school students
and 12 percent of high school students.