Cattaraugus County Health Department Receives $450,000 Community Transformation Grant Funding
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded more than $100 million to national, state, and local organizations to prevent diseases and to improve the health in communities across the nation. The funding will be made through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) in the form of its expanded Community Transformation Grants (CTG) program, which will support neighborhoods, towns, and small communities with populations of less than 500,000. These new awards will implement strategies to reduce chronic diseases, by making healthy living easier for all people, especially those hardest hit by these diseases.
New York State Department of Health is one of the national CTG Small Communities awardees, with funding designated for three counties: Cattaraugus, Chautauqua and Broome. These counties will implement broad, sustainable, evidence-based strategies that will reduce health disparities and expand community preventive services through policy, systems, environmental, and/or infrastructure improvements that help promote healthy lifestyles.
Consistent with the overall CTG program, Cattaraugus County is addressing: 1) tobacco-free living, 2) active living and healthy eating, and 3) creating healthy and safe physical environments for children ages 0-18. The $450,000 award to Cattaraugus County Health Department will cover efforts over a two year period, including critical work toward sustainability.
Cattaraugus County will work with a multi-sector leadership team and coalition to implement a multi-sector implementation plan within the Gowanda Central, Olean City, and Salamanca City School District geographic areas. In the early childcare sector, Cattaraugus County will increase the number of child care centers and child care homes that provide developmentally appropriate physical activity for young children and will increase participation in the Child and Adult Care Food Program.
In the school sector, Cattaraugus County will increase integration of physical activity into elementary classroom settings, adopt and/or improve policies and practices encouraging students to walk or bike to school, develop regional food procurement initiatives which will consolidate food procurement and standardize menu planning for participating school districts in order to leverage buying power, secure more competitive pricing, and improve the nutritional quality of the school lunch program. In addition these school districts will develop and implement policies prohibiting tobacco use at off-campus, school-sponsored events.
In the community at-large sector, Cattaraugus County municipalities will adopt complete streets policies, buildings (schools, organizations, municipals) that sell or serve sugary beverages will adopt policies that decrease availability of sugary drinks, and local housing authorities will work toward implementing smoke-free policies for their multi-unit properties.
Data from a county-level Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) completed in 2008-09 Expanded BRFSS (EBRFSS) indicate smoking is more prevalent in Broome (20.3%), Cattaraugus (23.5%) and Chautauqua
(25.3%) counties than in the rest of New York State (NYS), 16.7%. Moreover, compared to NYS, a significantly
higher percentage of adults are estimated to live in homes where smoking is allowed: 24% versus 19% (EBRSS, 2008-09). Although the prevalence of smoking among high school students has declined dramatically in NYS from 27.1% in 2000 to 12.6% in 2010 (NY Youth Tobacco Survey) or YTS, a regional YTS completed in 2008 indicated high school smoking rates were nearly 20% higher among youth in the southern central counties, which includes Broome County and 15%
higher among youth in the Buffalo region where Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties are located.
The rates of obesity among elementary and middle/high school students in the high need school districts are 31% higher than the obesity rates observed in the remaining districts within the state, exclusive of NYC, 21.3% versus 16.3% (SWSCRS 2008-2010). In addition, rates of adult obesity are higher in Broome (24.6%), Cattaraugus (31.9%) and Chautauqua (27.5%) than the rest of the state, 23.6% (EBRFSS 2008-2009). This is important to note, because overweight children are more prone to becoming overweight adults, especially at high Body Mass Indexes (BMIs) or if they have an obese parent.
Dr. Watkins, Public Health Director, stated that "obesity among children and adolescents has tripled over the past three decades. Currently, a third of New York's children are obese or overweight; in Cattaraugus County, over twenty percent (20%) of students in Olean, Salamanca and Gowanda school districts were identified as overweight and/or obese, and this has become a public health crisis.1 This pilot program, which will implement changes to reduce the long term effect of childhood obesity, is the first step in addressing this crisis and we look forward to working with the school districts and local officials to implement these changes."
To learn more about the Community Transformation Grants program, including a list of all awardees, visit http://www.cdc.gov/communitytransformation/funds/index.htm.
1 Student Weight Status Category Reporting Survey Results: County Level Report 2008-2010 NYS Department of Health
Cattaraugus County Department of Health: "Public Health for Healthy Communities"