The Delta Region has been awarded $6.2 million to fund projects to promote healthy living in the workplace.
The Delta Regional Authority and Health Resources Services Administration awarded the funds through their Delta States Rural Development Grant Program to multiple counties in Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
Authority Co-Chairman Christopher Masingill says a healthy workforce is vital to the strength of the Delta Region.
“Circulatory disease rates are 16 percent higher than the national average with cancer deaths rates 12 percent higher than the national average. We know that 32 percent of Delta residents areobese compared to 26 percent nationally, and nearly 12 percent are diabetic,” Masingill said.
The Delta Regional Authority anticipates businesses participating in the Healthy Workforce Challenge to incur savings and improve health outcomes that result in increased productivity and decrease workplace absence, Masingill says.
The Delta States Rural Development Grant Program requires local health providers to work together to implement programs that will educate and change attitudes about health risk and disease management.
Deputy Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration Marcia Brand says the programs are based on models that are proven to work and will demonstrate positive health outcomes.
“Our grantees are going to focus on outreach, education, and wellness strategies around diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease and it is our expectation that their programs will be sustainable and irrevocable at the end of the project period,” Brand says.
The grantees will be required to report on their performance data to make sure this use of federal funds will have a significant impact in the Delta.