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$1.57m wellness grant

October 30, 2011

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The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control on Thursday announced that the Massachusetts Department of Health has been awarded $1.57 million per year for five years to promote health and wellness in Middlesex County. The Community Transformation Grant will be used to promote tobacco-free living, healthy eating, and exercise, as well as social and emotional wellness, in an effort to reduce death and disability in Middlesex County from factors such as obesity, smoking, heart disease, and stroke. “This is the first time under the [2010] Affordable Care Act that funding has been awarded for an innovative prevention effort,’’ said Joel Barrera, executive director of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, the regional planning agency that joined the state Department of Public Health in applying for the grant on behalf of Middlesex County. “We’re pleased that [the CDC] is saying, ‘We want you to think about health in a holistic way.’ ’’ Barrera said the grant would allow the council to examine how planning issues - where communities place their schools and have recreational trails, for example - affect public health. Area cities and towns involved in the Middlesex County grant include Everett, Lowell, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Stoneham, Wakefield, and Winchester. - Brenda J. Buote