The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) wants more money from the federal government to help prevent obesity and injury, and is seeking public input on its proposal. The UDOH is asking for 1.5 million dollars for Preventive Health and Health Services. That’s an $850,000 dollar increase over the amount Utah originally applied for this fiscal year. Currently, the block grant funds are primarily used by the state and local health departments for the prevention of obesity and injury. Heather Borski with the UDOH says the state wants to expand these efforts.
“I think the thing that we’re trying to do with this grant is to hit multiple sectors all at once, so schools, communities, worksites, the healthcare setting,” Borski says. “I think we’re making a difference because the public is hearing messages about obesity and the importance of healthy eating and physical activity from all sides.”
Borski says the state has flexibility in how it can use the money. Grants have been used to educate the public about seatbelt use, prevent falls among the elderly, establish farmers markets in local communities, and work with schools to increase physical activity. She says obesity rates had been climbing rapidly in years past, but are now leveling off. The deadline for public comment is Friday.