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Canyon Ranch Healthy World Scholarship winners focus on improving childhood nutrition

20 Jul 2016
Four teams of health and wellbeing professionals working to improve children’s nutrition in low-income communities have been named recipients of the 2016 Canyon Ranch Institute Healthy World Scholarship.

The teams – made up of 15 dedicated experts from such diverse fields as healthcare, food service, education, and nonprofit innovation – live and work in the communities of Chinle, Arizona; Greenville, South Carolina; Savannah, Georgia; and Wilkes County, North Carolina.

Health and wellness resort Canyon Ranch partnered with the non-profit Canyon Ranch Institute to develop the CRI Healthy World Scholarship programme, which is designed to create lasting change in the health and wellbeing of children.

For 2016, the program sought applications from interdisciplinary teams collaborating across systems and organisations to improve children’s health and wellbeing through healthy eating.

“Good nutrition is essential to children’s growth and development, but children in low-income communities often have limited access to healthy food,” said Jennifer Cabe, M.A., Canyon Ranch Institute executive director and board member. “We know that many of the chronic diseases that people experience are related to eating unhealthy foods and unhealthy portions. By supporting these teams now, Canyon Ranch Institute and Canyon Ranch are investing at the community level in changing systems and organisations that directly influence what low-income children eat every day.”

Recipients were selected through a competitive application process and reviews by CRI volunteers representing a variety of professional disciplines. Recipients of the CRI Healthy World Scholarship will travel to Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona this month to meet with thought leaders in the fields of fitness, health literacy, integrative health, nutrition, partnership development and sustainability, and public health.

The experience is designed to support and strengthen the teams’ collaborative efforts to improve the health and well-being of children in their communities.

The 2016 CRI Healthy World Scholarship teams and their projects are:

The “Growing Healthy Dine Families” team from Chinle, Arizona – supported by the Navajo Area Indian Health Service – will strengthen its home-visiting program, Family Spirit, by developing culturally competent strategies and curriculum to prevent early childhood obesity in their rural community.

The “New Impact: A Healthy Lifestyles Program” team from Greenville, South Carolina – supported by Children’s Hospital of Greenville Health System – will focus on strategic planning efforts for a new community child health initiative as well as improving the curriculum and evaluation of their New Impact program, a healthy lifestyle and nutrition program for families.

The “C-Port Youth Empowered” team from Savannah, Georgia – will expand Forsyth Farmer Market’s Bring it Home and Farm Truck 912 programs, to include new youth-focused nutrition and cooking curriculum and evaluation.

The “Wilkes Health Action Team” from Wilkes County, North Carolina – supported by The Health Foundation – will influence and advance organisational practices and community-wide policies that improve opportunities for healthy eating in order to eliminate health disparities in their rural Western North Carolina community.

“The diversity of these teams and their work with some of our nation’s most vulnerable children are very impressive,” said Maggie King, manager for the CRI Healthy World Scholarship programme. “We’re excited to see how each team uses their scholarship experience to produce even greater positive changes in the health of children and the communities where they live.”

In 2017, recipients of the CRI Healthy World Scholarship will be professionals whose work involves improving children’s fitness. In 2018, recipients will focus on empowering young people through improving self-esteem and healthy behaviours.

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