BCBSLA Foundation Challenge Grants get results in tackling obesity

BATON ROUGE, La (LOCAL 33) - The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation has released its final report on its three-year, $10.2 million Challenge for a Healthier Louisiana grant program. 
The Challenge Grants, built on the "collective impact" model, brought together 180+ partners across the state and has indicated an effective path towards building healthier communities from the ground up.
In survey-based research conducted by Pennington Biomedical Research Center, those who participated in Challenge Grant programs said they were twice as likely to adopt a lifestyle of eating right and moving more. 
In addition, Challenge Grant recipients across the state raised over $30 million to invest in education, exercise classes and healthy living infrastructure. Together, the twelve Challenge Grant programs:
* Distributed 577,464 pounds of fresh produce
* Built or improved 107 community, school and home gardens
* Improved or created 78 farmers markets
* Created 8 incentive programs to increase farmers market purchases
* Built 34 new or improved sidewalk, trail or crosswalk segments
* Built 25 miles of new walking/biking paths
* Improved 49 parks, schools or other facilities with health-focused amenities
Twelve Challenge Grant projects took place in the Shreveport, Monroe, Alexandria, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Baton Rouge and New Orleans regions.
"We are immensely proud of our partners and the work they've done," said Michael Tipton, BCBSLA Foundation President. "For too long, Louisiana has lingered at the bottom of obesity trend lines. Our partners have laid the groundwork for improving the health of their friends, families and neighbors in the years to come."
Based on results from the Challenge Grant program, the Foundation has created three new grant programs, one of which will continue the organization's momentum in collective impact work.
The full final report on Challenge for a Healthier Louisiana, along with details on each of the 12 projects, is available at www.bcbslafoundation.org/CHL

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