Healthy Way to Grow

Launched in fall 2013, Healthy Way to Grow is an obesity-prevention initiative that will impact the future health and well-being of children across the country. The McGowan Fund is the inaugural funder of this important program, which is a joint effort of the American Heart Association and Nemours, a non-profit children’s health system. Healthy Way to Grow represents the largest award given to healthcare or research in the McGowan Fund’s 20-year history, and the groundbreaking initiative heralds a new direction in large-scale, health-promotion programming for the foundation.

As a longtime funder of programs that address challenges and needs in cardiac healthcare, the McGowan Fund is acutely aware of the significant impact obesity has on both individual health and our health system as a whole. With current national statistics indicating that more than a quarter of U.S. preschool children ages 2 to 5 are overweight or obese, the need for early intervention is evident. For that reason, Healthy Way to Grow will provide technical assistance and support to child care centers across the country and is aimed at decreasing obesity among children ages birth to five years old.

The program launched in six communities in 2013 with the goal of expanding to more communities over the coming years. According to McGowan Fund Board of Directors President Sue Gin-McGowan, the Fund’s objective is to leverage the inaugural funding by demonstrating to other organizations the powerful potential of this targeted initiative.

“After three years, we hope to have local, community-based partners who would fund up to 50 percent of ongoing costs, as well as funders outside the six pilot areas bringing it into their own communities,” she explained at the time the program was announced. “We have long played a leadership role in place-based initiatives, and we are eager to now be the initiator for a community-focused program with broad, nationwide impact.”

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