April 6, 2007

Grant bolsters child advocacy efforts

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(photo by Susan Urmy)

Grant bolsters child advocacy efforts

Nashville-based Bank of America's Charitable Foundation has given $110,000 to support advocacy programs based at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt.

The Vanderbilt Children's Health Improvement and Prevention (VCHIP) Program received the grant to focus on community-based programs to reduce childhood obesity in Middle Tennessee.

“We have had overwhelming requests from the community for more preventive health and injury programs and, thanks to Bank of America we will be able to make great strides in meeting these requests,” said Mary Kate Mouser, director of VCHIP.

Through the VCHIP program, Children's Hospital currently serves more than 2,000 children in school and after-school programs. VCHIP provides advocacy and programmatic support for Metro Nashville Public Schools' Coordinated School Health Program. The Live It! Go for the Red, White and Blue program in Nashville area schools includes health education, nutrition and physical activity in an eight-week intervention offered to fifth and sixth graders. VCHIP also facilitates development of after-school programs such as Commit to be Fit with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Middle Tennessee, which helps students integrate healthy behaviors throughout their day.

According to the 2006 KIDS COUNT survey, Tennessee ranks near the bottom — 46th out of 50 states — in health and well being indicators for children. Tennessee has some of the highest rates of childhood obesity in the country, with 35 percent of children who are obese compared with 31 percent nationally.

John Stein, president of Bank of America Tennessee, said giving the grant to the VCHIP program made sense. Bank of America has been the presenting sponsor of the Iroquois Steeplechase benefiting the Children's Hospital for the past 17 years.

“Since its opening, Children's Hospital has become a place of hope and healing in this community,” Stein said. “On behalf of Bank of America, we are proud to continue our support of Vanderbilt's efforts to educate parents and caregivers on how to keep their children healthy so they can have brighter futures.”