KCUR News
12:04 pm
Fri July 23, 2010

Missouri Foundation Gets $2 Million to Fight Obesity and Tobacco Use

A new federal program has awarded the Missouri Foundation for Health $2 million in matching funds to take on the high rates of obesity and tobacco use throughout the state.

The St. Louis based non-profit is one of 11 organizations nationwide to receive the grants, and it plans to distribute the money to several groups across the state to run obesity and tobacco use-prevention programs.

Bev Pfeifer-Harms is with the Missouri Foundation for Health. She says already-supported programs have been successful in addressing such health problems. But she says the new grant money is important because the efforts aren't enough.

"We've been able to make an impact on those communities we've been able to fund, but the dollars only go so far," says Pfeifer-Harms. "Now we've got a chance to get more dollars into the communities, and I'm positive that there're going to be a ton of organizations and a ton of communities that are really desperate to make an impact on their obesity rates and on their smoking rates."

Pfeifer-harms says in some parts of Missouri, the smoking rate is double the national average. She says a recent report also ranked the state as being the 12th fattest in the country.

Local organizations will be able to submit proposals for the matching funds within the next few months. Kansas City usually falls outside of the foundation's funding area, but Pfeifer-Harms says the region will be eligible for the new grant money.

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