The now signed-into-law health care bill, the Affordable Care Act includes new “community transformation grants” that could provide funds for playgrounds, recreational programs and the like that encourage “active living” and access to healthy food.
The details and exact nature of this effort are unclear, as the ink has barely dried on the President’s twenty-pen signature, but the language of the bill indicates that state and local governments, national community group networks, non-profit organizations and tribes can prepare “community transformation plans” and accompanying applications for funding the following:
- Creating healthier school environments, including increasing healthy food options, physical activity opportunities, promotion of healthy lifestyle, emotional wellness, and prevention curricula, and activities to prevent chronic diseases;
- Creating the infrastructure to support active living and access to nutritious foods in a safe environment;
- Developing and promoting programs targeting a variety of age levels to increase access to nutrition, physical activity and smoking cessation, improve social and emotional wellness, enhance safety in a community, or address any other chronic disease priority area identified by the grantee;
- Assessing and implementing worksite wellness programming and incentives;
- Working to highlight healthy options at restaurants and other food venues;
- Prioritizing strategies to reduce racial and ethnic disparities, including social, economic, and geographic determinants of health; and
- Addressing special populations needs, including all age groups and individuals with disabilities, and individuals in both urban and rural areas.
The bill doesn’t specify funding for this program, but as Elana Schor of Streetsblog reported earlier, it is included as one eligible use for a “prevention and public health fund” that would receive $5 billion by the year 2015.