The PepsiCo Foundation in Purchase, New York, has announced a $1.1 million grant to the University of Florida for a pilot program to encourage healthy living and prevent obesity in low-income and ethnic-minority families.
Originally targeting families in Ocala and Gainesville, the Family Health Self-Empowerment Project will be expanded nationally, with more than six hundred families participating. Run by Dr. Carolyn Tucker, a UF Distinguished Alumni Professor in the departments of psychology, pediatrics and community health, and family medicine, the program consists of five bi-weekly workshops that include topics such as how to make healthy decisions, prepare ethnic foods in healthy ways, and manage stress and depression that often lead to unhealthy living.
The three-year project is expected to demonstrate the effectiveness of an intervention model program; produce a DVD of the program's workshops for national distribution; and lead to a better understanding of the variables that influence lifestyle choices. Through the progam, participants are also expected to self-monitor their eating, activity level, and television watching.
"The workshops are the first of their kind in that they will involve families teaching families and address the big problem of getting motivated and staying motivated," said Tucker. "And to make sure the workshops are culturally sensitive, they will include leaders from various ethnic groups and cultural backgrounds."