OSU awarded $3.9M from CDC to target obesity in Oklahoma

STILLWATER, Okla. – Oklahoma State University has been awarded nearly $4 million over the next five years by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to tackle Oklahoma’s obesity crisis.

The High Obesity County Program, which is part of the CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, funds universities in states with counties that have more than 40 percent prevalence of obesity in adults. Adair and Muskogee counties in eastern Oklahoma will be the initial counties targeted by the project.

“We at the Center for Health Systems Innovation have a mission to transform rural and Native American health,” said William D. Paiva, executive director for the Center for Health Systems Innovation (CHSI). “This project will allow us to continue to expand our programs to support our core mission. More importantly, it will allow us to provide valuable programs to our rural citizens to address the obesity crisis, which is causing Oklahomans to die far too young.”

Oklahoma is the sixth worst state in the nation in adult obesity rates, sixth in diabetes, second in cardiovascular deaths and fifth in cancer deaths, according to the CDC and the 2014 Oklahoma State of the State Health Report. The two counties initially targeted for these grant efforts have adult obesity rates exceeding 40 percent: Adair ,41.3 percent, and Muskogee, 40.6 percent.

“We are excited and honored to be part of this interdisciplinary, intercampus effort to address obesity rates in Oklahoma,” said Jorge Atiles, associate dean for extension and engagement. “The OSU College of Human Sciences, through our Family and Consumer Sciences Cooperative Extension programs, has a rich history of providing cutting-edge solutions to support the residents of all 77 counties within Oklahoma.”

The project, titled Curbing Obesity in Adair and Muskogee Counties, targets residents who are considered obese or at risk of becoming obese.

“The coordinated approach will support county residents in following through on recommendations made by health care providers, thus increasing the potential to make a dent in our obesity crisis,” Hildebrand said. “Our applied research groups and partners have been, over the last decade, producing some of the leading efforts in this field, and we are excited to provide real solutions to Oklahoma residents.”

Funding from the CDC will enable OSU to developing, deploy and fund healthy eating initiatives and safe and accessible physical activity options over the next five years, Hildebrand said.

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