Learning Landscapes program receives additional LiveWell funding

May 8, 2009

As the country continues to wage war against the battle of the bulge, the University of Colorado Denver’s Learning Landscapes program has announced continued funding from LiveWell Colorado, a local non-profit committed to reducing obesity in Colorado by inspiring healthy eating and active living. The funding, in the amount of $150,000, will be used to support local programs and activities to prevent obesity and to educate and encourage residents of Westwood, Colo., a neighborhood in southwest Denver, to live healthier lives.

The Learning Landscapes program in UC Denver’s College of Architecture and Planning will use the grant funds to support vegetable garden construction and programs, sports leagues, and community organizing to advocate for healthy eating and active living over the next year.  A LiveWell Colorado grant recipient since 2008, the Learning Landscapes has successfully worked with churches and schools to implement new health-promoting policies, such as encouraging children to walk to school.

“We are thrilled to continue to put these funds to work in ways that make a difference in the lives of our friends, colleagues and neighbors,” said Rachel Cleaves, the LiveWell Westwood Project Director and associate director of Learning Landscapes at UC Denver’s College of Architecture and Planning. “It’s great to be part of the LiveWell Colorado network of grantees, which gives us all the opportunity to share best practices and extend our reach.”

These and other activities will be guided by the LiveWell Westwood steering committee, which is composed of residents and local leaders including City Council District 3, the Westwood Clinic, and Denver Public Schools. Support from partnering organizations, such as Revision International and Colorado Athletic Sports Association and others will further ensure that program messages and activities reach a broad range of community members.

LiveWell Colorado recently awarded $4 million dollars to communities to help prevent the state’s obesity trends and reduce related chronic diseases.  The University of Colorado Denver is one of 25 communities and/or recipients to receive funding under the initiative in 2009. LiveWell grant recipients promote healthy eating and active living by implementing policies, programs and infrastructure changes in school, worksite, healthcare and community settings.

“LiveWell Colorado is committed to working with a variety of organizations to reach Coloradoans where they work, play and live,” said Maren Stewart, president and CEO of LiveWell Colorado. “These grants are awarded to communities who have solid plans to make an impact through strategic education and action. This grant will enable the University of Colorado Denver to promote and support healthy lifestyle choices.”

LiveWell Colorado is funded by The Colorado Health Foundation, Kaiser Permanente and the Kresge Foundation, with support from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The organization leverages and coordinates statewide and community-based efforts to encourage healthy lifestyles, with the ultimate goal of reaching every Colorado community.

According to the U.S. Surgeon General, obesity is the single greatest public health threat to the nation. In fact, poor nutrition and lack of physical activity are the second leading preventable causes of death in the U.S. and Colorado. While Colorado is among the leanest states, with 44.7 percent of adults being at a healthy weight, the prevalence of overweight and obesity in Colorado is rising in concert with national rates, putting a large portion of the population at risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, hypertension and asthma. Studies show that only 73 percent of Colorado’s children ages 5-14 are physically active at least 5 or more hours a week and nearly 26 percent of Colorado’s children are considered overweight or at risk of becoming overweight.

For more information about this initiative, please visitwww.livewellcolorado.org.