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ANN ARBOR, MICH. – The National Kidney Foundation of Michigan (NKFM) was recently awarded a two-year grant by the Michigan Health Endowment Fund. The grant— 2017 Nutrition and Healthy Lifestyles — will provide $433,960 to support the PEACH program (Project for EArly Childhood Health).

The NKFM strives to improve childhood health, while also preventing the onset or delay of preventable diseases. In an effort to achieve this goal, NKFM will improve the nutrition and healthy lifestyle habits of Michigan children through the expansion of the PEACH program.

The PEACH Program reaches those most in need; children and families from communities that lack healthy food choices, sound nutritional information, efforts to improve school readiness, and other vital health-related resources. The overall goal of PEACH is to bring behaviorally focused, science-based nutrition education interventions that support more physically active lifestyles and healthier eating habits to children, ages 0-5, and their families living in Genesee, Hillsdale, Jackson, Lenawee, Livingston, Monroe, Washtenaw, St. Clair, Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb Counties. Almost half of Michigan’s population lives in this region.

PEACH educates and empowers children, families, childcare providers, and teachers to make healthy changes in their centers and homes to better prepare children for a healthy future. The program has preliminary evidence that suggests 63% of children served made significant progress on the “kindergarten readiness indicator”.

With help from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, PEACH will increase fruit and vegetable consumption, physical activity, and create positive attitudes about healthy behaviors for children and their families. These outcomes will be seen by:

  • increasing nutrition and physical activity workforce development for childcare providers
  • improving nutrition policy, practices and procedures at childcare centers
  • increasing fruit and vegetable consumption of children and their families
  • increasing access to fruits and vegetables for program participants
  • increasing physical activity of children and their families
  • improving healthy eating for children and their families
  • improving kindergarten readiness

According to the US Department of Agriculture, more than 918,600 children and adults live in communities in southeast Michigan where a healthy diet is out of reach. The Michigan Health Endowment Fund works to improve the health and wellness of Michigan residents and reduce the cost of healthcare, with a special focus on children and seniors. More information about the Health Fund can be found at mhealthfund.com.

“We’re proud to partner with the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan to support their work encouraging healthy habits in young children,” said Health Fund Senior Program Officer Laurie Solotorow. “This program marks our first nutrition investment focused specifically on early childhood, and we’re excited to see how it helps Michigan’s kids establish a healthy foundation that lasts well beyond their first five years.”

In 2015-2016, PEACH was implemented at 257 early childhood education sites, provided workforce development to 1,044 childcare providers and reached 15,120 children and their parents. For more information about the NKFM, visit www.nkfm.org. For more information about the PEACH Program, contact Crystal D’Agostino, Program Manager at the NKFM, at 734-222-9800.

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