While President Obama’s landmark Affordable Care Act awaits scrutiny from the Supreme Court and many of its key provisions do not go into effect for years, Dukes County won’t have to wait to benefit from the bill’s focus on preventive health care. On Wednesday Marina Lent of the Dukes County Health Council announced that the county had received a five-year, $60,000-per-year Community Transformation Grant to promote healthy eating and active living.
“This money is [Centers for Disease Control] money coming from the Affordable Care Act,” Ms. Lent said at a Dukes County Commission meeting. “It’s working on the assumption that it’s the chronic diseases that are what’s killing most people and causing the most damage and that the chronic diseases need to be approached preventively. The causes of such high levels of chronic disease are poor quality diets and most of all sedentary lifestyles.”
Ms. Lent said the grant money would be used to hire a part-time administrator who would develop a range of programs, possibly including affordable cooking classes, increasing the use of fresh local food in schools (building on the work of the Island Grown Initiative), and increasing physical activity both inside and outside of school. She said Wednesday’s announcement was only preliminary and that programming had not been developed yet.
“They’re trying to start programs everywhere on how to get the kids outdoors again away from the TV screen and how to get the good food into the schools,” she said. “We’ll be open to ideas from the community.”