TMH awarded $40,000 grant to combat obesity |

TMH awarded $40,000 grant to combat obesity

Josh Nichols

The number of children in the United States who are overweight has tripled in the last three decades, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Another survey by the department shows 61 percent of adults in the U.S. are either obese or overweight.

Seven Moffat County agencies have teamed to try and trim those numbers locally.

And they have some funding to do it.

Courtesy of a grant from the Colorado Trust, which is a statewide grant foundation dedicated to advancing the health of people in Colorado, seven agencies will have $40,000 a year for three years to distribute amongst themselves to promote health in Moffat County.

Amy Knights, a registered nurse at The Memorial Hospital, is the project coordinator for the grant.

Knights said the reasons for the high obesity rates nationwide are simple too much fast food and not enough physical activity.

“We really want to focus on the physical activity piece of this,” she said.

To do this she is distributing step counters, which are tiny devices about the size of a wristwatch, that strap onto a belt loop.

The device, which costs $5, counts the number of steps a person takes in a day.

People simply connect the device to their belt loop at the beginning of their day, and record their total when they take it off at night, Knights said.

Ideally, people should take 10,000 steps per day, she said.

But when they are first starting with the step counter, they should not change their physical routines for a week, she said, and should see how many steps they are taking in an average day.

When they find what their average is, and if it is under the 10,000 step mark, they should begin making adjustments in their daily routine to meet the 10,000 step daily goal, she said.

Simple adjustments to one’s daily routine, like parking farther away, taking the stairs and taking breaks to walk around during the day can make a big difference, she said.

“Just simple life-style changes can help,” she said.

A few of the other agencies that will conduct health training programs courtesy of the grant include the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Office, which will offer educational programs for adults and youth that teach low-fat cooking skills and food selection skills; the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association, which will offer senior wellness programs to motivate seniors in Moffat County to stay or become more physically active; and Moffat County Public Schools, which will offer physical fitness-enhancing after-school opportunities for students.

Knights said the Colorado Trust gave the grant to The Memorial Hospital because so many agencies were involved.

“They wanted to give the grant to us because of the collaboration between agencies,” she said. “That’s what it takes to promote health in the community.”

Other agencies involved include the Independent Life Center, Colorado Northwestern Community College and Yampa Valley Psychotherapists.

Josh Nichols can be reached at 824-7031 or

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