The Town of Wakefield and City of Melrose Health Departments announced today that they have been awarded a $40,000 grant each year for three years from the Patrick Administration. The award is part of more than $1 million in Mass in Motion Municipal Wellness and Leadership grants awarded to 22 programs across the Commonwealth. The grants are designed to promote opportunities for healthy eating and active living in the places people live, learn, work and play. Mass in Motion is a program of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH).
“These grants enable cities and towns to make healthy eating and active living easier for people to achieve,” said DPH Commissioner Cheryl Bartlett. “Grantees such as Melrose and Wakefield are working to make the healthy choice the easy choice by ensuring the availability of healthy affordable foods and promoting opportunities for physical activity.”
The grant funding will be used to assist Melrose and Wakefield in creating and sustaining changes that make it easy for people to eat better and move more. Healthy Dining and Healthy Corner Store programs already established in both communities will continue, making it easier for residents to access fresh fruits and vegetables when eating out. This grant will also allow residents interested in walking and biking in the City and Town to have a voice.
“We are thrilled to be able to help residents in making the healthy choice, the easy choice. Adding more bike racks in prime locations and having teens involved in cooking and promoting healthy family eating is our future,” said Kara Showers, Mass in Motion-Melrose/Wakefield grant coordinator. “A special thank you to Senator Jason Lewis, Representative Paul Brodeur, Mayor Robert Dolan, Town Administrator Steve Maio. Health Director Ruth Clay and the local Boards of Health for their support.”
The Mass in Motion Municipal Wellness and Leadership Initiative enables cities and towns in Massachusetts to implement local policy, systems and environmental change strategies to prevent and reduce obesity and the chronic diseases that result from being overweight. Interventions will focus on healthy eating, active living, and promotion of healthy and safe physical environments. The initiative is led by municipalities with the creation of a multi-sector partnership to develop and implement the community-level strategies.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical activity, and the consumption of healthy foods is important in maintaining a healthy weight and reducing the risk for chronic disease and associated risk factors, including hypertension, heart disease and stroke, diabetes and some cancers. Through Mass in Motion, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health is working with cities and towns across the Commonwealth to create conditions that make it easier to be active and eat healthy food.