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North Long Beach Gains $1M Grant

The Long Beach Unified School District will partner with the Long Beach Health Department, using a new $1 million grant from Kaiser Permanente to improve the health of children and their families in North Long Beach.

The Health Department received the three-year Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) grant to promote public health.  The department is the coordinating agency of the Coalition for a Healthy North Long Beach, an alliance of community groups – including the school district – focused on improving health for all residents in North Long Beach.

Students and their families will benefit from the grant at Starr King, Grant, Hamilton and Jordan schools.  The grant will:

• Pilot the removal of flavored milk from breakfast at Starr King, Grant and Hamilton;

• Provide additional varieties of fruits and vegetables at Starr King, Grant, Hamilton and Jordan; and

• Promote healthy lifestyles among students, parents and staff.

The Health Department will undergo a nine-month planning phase that includes engagement with school communities.  The investment in North Long Beach is part of Kaiser’s $7 million HEAL Zones initiative benefitting Southern California.  HEAL Zones are designed to make healthy options available to more people, and in turn to prevent diseases such as diabetes and heart disease that often result from obesity.

The vision of the HEAL Zones is that at the end of the three-year grant, communities will see greater opportunities for engaging in healthy behaviors like walking and biking on safe routes, buying affordable fresh fruits and vegetables close to home, exercising in parks and participating in active after-school programs daily.

The grant also ties into LBUSD’s North Long Beach Initiative, which aims to make a planned $105 million major renovation of Jordan High School a centerpiece for community revitalization.