UH program gets over $2M to continue work targeting childhood obesity

UH program gets over $2M to continue work targeting childhood obesity

HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) - A program led by the University of Hawaii at Manoa recently received over $2 million in supplemental funding from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

The program, dubbed the Children's Healthy Living Program, is led by Professor Rachel Novotny, a professor in UH Manoa's college of tropical agriculture.

The project works with public and private partners in Hawaii, Alaska, American Samoa, and several other places in the Pacific region, to collect health data on obesity and prevention methods.

Data collected from the program confirmed that the Pacific region is home to some of the "most obese countries in the world." The program also found that the obesity problem was growing among children and adults in the region.

Prior to the program's inception, there was limited data in the Pacific region since the area is not surveyed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Officials with the program say that the new funding will allow them to develop education training opportunities for health professionals in the region, among other things.

Back in 2011, CHL was awarded a $25 million grant to be used over five years to monitor, develop and test community-based approaches to decrease childhood obesity.

Part of that original grant was also used to fund college scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students in Pacific-area universities, and train students in their home communities.

The $2 million funding, which newly labels the program as a "Center for Excellence," will be used through 2021.

"We look forward to working with our partners to continue expanding our network to fundamentally change policies, systems and environments to ensure child wellness together," Novotny said.

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