Kaiser re-invests $1 million for the Y and HEAL partners to improve health

Kaiser Permanente announced plans to expand and strengthen its existing Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) interventions to promote healthier communities and healthier people in Anaheim. The Anaheim Family YMCA, the facilitating agency for the Anaheim HEAL Zone Initiative, is receiving a $1 million grant from Kaiser Permanente to continue its efforts make healthy eating and physical activity part of daily life.

HEAL recess

A kickoff was held on May 11 at Lincoln Elementary to officially launch the second phase HEAL with the YMCA, lead collaborators, residents leaders, and city leaders. Kaiser Permanente has awarded $1 million to the Anaheim HEAL Zone collaboration to continue its health improvement strategies for the next three years, 2016-2019.

The grant is part of a larger Kaiser Permanente HEAL Zone investment to promote healthy communities across Southern California. This grant renewal marks the second phase of the HEAL Zone initiative. The initial phase was also funded with a $1 million grant from Kaiser Permanente in 2012.

“Improving the health of the communities we serve has always been a central part of Kaiser Permanente’s mission,” said Mark Costa, Senior Vice President and Area Manager for Kaiser Permanente Orange County Area. “We are pleased to invest these significant resources to help increase access to healthy food and physical activities for families in Anaheim.”

HEAL Zones are designed to help make healthy choices accessible to more people in underserved communities — and in turn to prevent diseases such as diabetes and hypertension that often result from obesity. For more than four years, HEAL Zone sites in Southern California have implemented community-based strategies in neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces to improve healthy eating and physical activity policies and practices.

“We are thrilled to receive this funding from Kaiser Permanente, which will allow our partners and resident leaders to make the healthy choice the social norm,” said Javier Gonzalez, YMCA Healthy Communities Director. “From schools and parks to markets and public spaces, our partnership will continue its community transformation efforts to improve people’s health and long-term well-being.”

The Anaheim HEAL Zone is led by a robust coalition of partners, including the Anaheim Family YMCA, City of Anaheim, Anaheim Elementary School District, Anaheim Union High School District, Kaiser Permanente, Ersoylu Consulting, Latino Health Access, KidHealthy, Northgate Gonzalez Markets, Higher Ground, Community Health Initiative of Orange County, Orange County Food Access Coalition, Disneyland Resort, Orange County Health Care Agency, and numerous youth and resident leaders.

Since 2012, the Anaheim HEAL Zone has made many important community improvements to make healthy eating and active living part of daily life, including:

  • New park playgrounds;
  • Students engaged in physical activity in the classroom, at recess, and after school
  • Policy to eliminate sugar sweetened milk in all schools in the Anaheim Elementary School District;
  • New walking path and other park amenities being planned at Edison Park;
  • HEAL cooler at Northgate Market on East St., featuring healthy items;
  • Resolution proclaiming Anaheim as a HEAL City;
  • And numerous other strategies.

Over the next three years, the focus of the Anaheim HEAL Zone will be on three core strategies: Healthy Students, Healthy Food & Resources; and Safe & Active Spaces.

To learn more about Kaiser Permanente’s HEAL Zones and HEAL Zone Initiative, visit http://healzones.org/ and http://community.kp.org/be-informed/program/heal-zones.

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