YORK, Pa. - June 20, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ - York, Pa. was today named a winner in the Healthy Communities Grant Program, an initiative of Weight Watchers International, Inc. and the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM). York was selected for its commitment to healthy living, evident through programs like Let's Move York City and Eat, Play, Breathe York. The Healthy Communities Grant Program is an initiative designed to help curb the national obesity epidemic and foster healthy lifestyles in communities, especially low-income areas that tend to have higher obesity rates and increased risks for obesity.(1) The program supports a collaborative approach to creating healthier environments by establishing health-focused relationships between community members, governments and businesses, and promoting innovative solutions for healthier living.
As one of the three Healthy Communities Grant Program recipients, York will receive a grant to build upon its successful efforts to foster healthy eating, increase physical activity, and promote weight loss and weight management through access to partially subsidized Weight Watchers memberships for local residents who qualify based on health status and financial need. The total retail value of all Weight Watchers memberships offered as part of the grant is up to $1 million across the three winning cities. York will also receive a $25,000 grant to administer the new program and build capacity for its success.*
"More than a third of adults in York are obese, and another third are overweight,(2)" said David Kirchhoff, Weight Watchers CEO. "Obesity fuels a multitude of chronic health conditions including heart disease and type 2 diabetes. To prevent these obesity-related, costly chronic diseases, we must act now with solutions that are proven to be effective. We look forward to working with York to help combat obesity with community-based solutions. Through this effort, we will provide Weight Watchers' proven approach to weight loss to individuals who may not otherwise be able to afford our program."
Inspired by the First Lady's Let's Move program, Mayor C. Kim Bracey launched Let's Move York City in September 2012 and set a goal for residents to shed 5,000 pounds and log 350,000 minutes of physical activity in a year. Let's Move York City strives to foster healthy lifestyles supporting innovative programs such as "Healthy Kids on the Move," "Play Streets" and "Eat, Play, Breathe York."
One in three York residents lives below the poverty level, so the Healthy Communities Grant is designed to help parents who qualify, through body mass index and income-level criteria, gain access to partially subsidized Weight Watchers memberships from the program grant. The goal is to give York adults knowledge and tools to reach a healthier weight so that they can, by example, teach their children healthy behaviors and how to be more active for life.
"With a third of our residents living below the poverty level, it's critical that we provide low-cost solutions to help them stay healthy and fit," said York Mayor C. Kim Bracey. "That's a major motivation behind the development of Let's Move York City. With the generous support of Weight Watchers International and the Conference of Mayors, we'll be able to significantly expand our level of services, and make a real dent in our fight to reverse adult obesity trends in our city."
The Healthy Communities Grant Program winning cities will be recognized Monday, June 24 at the USCM 81st Annual Conference, for their exceptional existing healthy lifestyle programming.
"The U.S. Conference of Mayors has long been committed to mayor-driven health promotion in communities nationwide," said U.S. Conference of Mayors President Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter. "We are proud to work with Weight Watchers on this important initiative to help York and other cities support their residents in achieving a healthier lifestyle."
More information on the Healthy Communities Grant Program and grant recipients is available at usmayors.org/weightwatchers.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are 1,295 such cities in the country today, and each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor. Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/usmayors, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/usmayors.
Weight Watchers International, Inc. is the world's leading provider of weight management services, operating globally through a network of Company-owned and franchise operations. Weight Watchers holds more than 40,000 meetings each week where members receive group support and learn about healthy eating patterns, behavior modification and physical activity. WeightWatchers.com provides innovative, subscription weight management products over the Internet and is the leading Internet-based weight management provider in the world. In addition, Weight Watchers offers a wide range of products, publications and programs for those interested in weight loss and weight control.
*Award of grant and partially subsidized Weight Watchers memberships will be subject to eligibility and compliance with local, state and federal laws and regulations, including without limitation any applicable local gift ordinance. Void where prohibited.
(1) Kim, D. & Leigh, J. P. (2010). Estimating the effects of wages on obesity. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 52(5), 495-500.
(2) Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, University of Wisconsin, Population Health Institute. Fat Battleground: Obesity in York County.http://www.ydr.com/ci_15806908
SOURCE Weight Watchers International, Inc.