Aetna Foundation Awards $50,000 to Expand Enrollment in B’more Fit for Healthy Babies Program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contacts:

Michelle Mendes: Office: (410) 396-7286, Cell: (443) 862-0891
Mona Rock: Office: (443) 984-2623, Cell: (410) 375-7763

BALTIMORE, MD (February 27, 2017) — The Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD) and Family League of Baltimore (Family League) today announced that the Aetna Foundation has awarded a $50,000 grant to Family League in support of community-based fitness and nutrition programs, and trauma-informed counseling, for postpartum women and their families.

The funds will support the effort to enroll 100 new participants in B’more Fit programs in 2017 and reach an additional 10,000 residents through community health fairs and other public events.

B'more Fit is an initiative of B’more for Healthy Babies (BHB), a public-private partnership led by the Baltimore City Health Department, Family League of Baltimore, Health Care Access Maryland, and more than 150 partner agencies from the corporate, nonprofit, academic, foundation, and government sectors.

Since the implementation of BHB in 2009, infant mortality in Baltimore City has declined by 38 percent—to its lowest point on record.

“The B’more for Healthy Babies partnership has shown what we as a city can do when all of us come together to move the needle on key health outcomes. We are so proud of the progress we have made in saving lives and reducing health disparities across our city,” said Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen. “Through this new funding, we can continue to support new mothers, their children and their families at a critical time in their lives.”

In 2011, BCHD and Family League spearheaded the development of B’more Fit, which has directly served nearly 800 postpartum women, their children, and their partners. The program, which offers group nutrition and weight loss classes based on the evidence-based Taking Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS), predominantly serves low-income African-American and Latina women residing in Baltimore.

“Thanks to the generosity of the Aetna Foundation, many more new mothers and their children in Baltimore will have the opportunity to take advantage of all that B’More Fit has to offer—making it easier to get healthy, and stay healthy,” said Jonathon Rondeau, President & CEO of Family League of Baltimore. “We are proud of our BHB partners and all that we have accomplished together to help young families get off to a great start.”

B'more Fit offers women access to weight-loss support and wellness education, group exercise classes led by professional trainers, tips on budgeting and food preparation, and more. Weekly program meetings include weigh-ins, evidence-based nutrition lessons, participant recognition, challenging workouts, trauma and parenting support, and transportation.

The program also offers child care and includes nutrition and fitness activities led by pediatric residents from area hospitals, as well as education through an online toolkit on nutrition and weight management. Additionally, B'more Fit facilitates a coalition of concerned citizens and organizations that coordinates wellness activities and advocates for nutrition and fitness related policies.

The Aetna Foundation grant announced today will address the barriers to healthy eating and fitness that are often encountered due to income and racial biases, including higher risks of trauma, food deserts, and chronic disease.

“Healthy communities are built one family at a time, which is why it’s so important that mothers have the tools and knowledge to strive for healthier lifestyles – for themselves, their babies and other loved ones,” said Sharon Ions, corporate relations director for the Aetna Foundation “We’re proud to partner with the City of Baltimore and the Family League to increase participation in B'more Fit and to sustain their efforts to reduce infant mortality and chronic diseases in the community.”

Learn more about B’more for Health Babies and B'more Fit for Healthy Babies at: http://www.healthybabiesbaltimore.com/. 

Learn more about Family League at http://www.familyleague.org.

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