The Affordable Care Act (ACA) isn't just about ensuring that over 32 million people will have coverage — it's also about building better health knowledge in the community. It's been announced that the ACA is giving the YMCA a grant of $6.5 million to be used for a period of five years to create much needed programs to better the overall health of the community.
So what are they going to use the money for?
Their goal is to create programs that focus on preventative health. That focus makes sense given that studies show that in order to ward off chronic diseases such as type-2 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure as we get older, we need to take care of our health and bodies now. We can expect to see programs that focus on working out, nutrition literacy, smoking cessation support, mental and emotional health and the importance of living in a safe, clean neighborhood.
These programs, focused specifically on African-Americans and Hispanics/Latinos, are aimed at lowering health care costs overall. And we need this extra help. Based on body mass index (BMI) — the standard measure used to define obesity — 72 percent of African-American men and 80 percent of African-American women older than 20 are overweight or obese, according to the Office of Minority Health.
Neil Nicoll, president and CEO of Y-USA said in a press release from the organization, "Confronting the nation's rising chronic disease rates requires that we support individuals and communities in making better choices and that communities work together to address the underlying conditions that contribute to declining health and well-being, particularly for those with limited access to the programs and resources needed to attain and maintain a healthier lifestyle." He added, "It has never been more important to implement strategies that keep people well and keep health spending down. This Community Transformation Grant will allow the Y to expand its work to help all Americans take steps to prevent chronic disease and live longer, healthier lives."
Learn more about the YMCA and find a YMCA in your area, go here.
(Photo: The Plain Dealer/Landov)