Samaritan Health to address local childhood obesity problem

Samaritan Health Services has received an $85,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to develop a plan and networks to address childhood obesity in Linn and Lincoln counties.

Samaritan will use the funds to establish the Coast to the Cascades Childhood Obesity Project in Linn and Lincoln counties.

Through this project, SHS and its partners will establish community health networks in both counties to develop strategies to address childhood obesity.

Statistics show that in 2008, nearly 25 percent of children in Linn County and 44 percent of children in Lincoln County were considered obese or at risk of obesity.

In June 2009, SHS and the Benton County Health Department co-sponsored a childhood obesity summit, which 55 participants attended from Linn, Benton and Lincoln counties. Participants agreed that further action would need to include the establishment of a task force, regional communication networks, groups and plans to address four specific areas: community and families, schools, health care and media.