The health of thousands of Georgians who work and worship in the southwest region of the state stands to benefit from grants awarded by the Emory Prevention Research Center (EPRC) to local employers and churches.
Three worksites and four churches in medically underserved southwest Georgia counties recently received $28,000 in grant support from the EPRC in partnership with the Southwest Georgia Cancer Coalition to adopt nutrition programs.
"We are delighted to provide this support for community organizations to implement evidence-based, or 'proven' health promotion programs for their employees and parishioners," says Karen Glanz, PhD, MPH, Emory University Rollins School of Public Health professor of behavioral science and health education and EPRC director. "This helps us to extend the Prevention Center's work in a unique way and reach many more people than we can serve directly."
The intervention programs -- dubbed "Body and Soul" and "Treatwell 5-A-Day" -- were created and tested with grant funding from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Both initiatives aim to improve nutrition by encouraging participants to add more fruits and vegetables to their daily diets and fostering environments that support these behavioral changes. Local churches, whose members are primarily African American, will implement the "Body and Soul" program. Area worksites will launch the "Treatwell 5-A-Day" program.
The southwest Georgia grant recipients include:
- New Birth Fellowship Church (Albany, Ga.)
- Pleasant Grove Complex Center Incorporation (Pelham, Ga.)
- Shaw Industries Group, Inc. Plant 70 & 86 (Bainbridge, Ga.)
- South Georgia Medical Center (Valdosta, Ga.)
- Spring Creek Health Cooperative (Blakely, Ga.)
- Sylvester New Beginning Missionary Baptist Church (Sylvester, Ga.)
- Union Mission Outreach Center, Inc. (Albany, Ga.)
Grant recipients say parishioners and employees are embracing the "Body and Soul" and "Treatwell 5-A-Day" programs as a solution to eating healthier.
"During 2006, [our] congregation experienced numerous deaths from preventable diseases such as colon cancer, heart attack, diabetes and stroke," says Katrina Childs Stubbs of the Union Mission Outreach Center. "Our goal for this year-long project is to help increase health awareness by teaching participants about proper exercise, nutrition, disease prevention, weight loss and maintenance. We already have six volunteers for the exercise class, and the kitchen committee recently agreed to change the breakfast menu twice a month to a healthy and nutritious breakfast."
"Spring Health Creek plans on improving the overall health status of Early Memorial Hospital employees by providing monthly health education classes, diet and exercise information, bimonthly newsletters for employees and their families, and fruit and vegetable taste tests," says Executive Director Sheila Freeman.
The nutrition grants are possible as part of $6.3 million in grant awards from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to the Rollins School of Public Health to establish a Prevention Research Center. The EPRC focuses its efforts on cancer prevention in the 33 counties of southwest Georgia by promoting healthy eating, physical activity and tobacco-free lifestyles. For more information, visit www.sph.emory.edu/EPRC.