As part of its continuing fight against youth obesity, the American Cancer Society has awarded 30 youth obesity prevention community grants totaling $360,000 to nonprofit organizations across the state, including a $16,000 grant to Buehler YMCA in Palatine.
The grant will be used to promote healthy nutrition and physical activity. The Y will use the funds in partnership with the Palatine Opportunity Center, which will be implementing the CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health) program in a number of their existing after-school and summer programs reaching 900 youth. CATCH is an evidence-based, coordinated school and after-school program designed to promote physical activity and healthy food choices in elementary school-aged children.
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"In communities across the country obesity, physical inactivity and poor nutrition are the biggest risk factors for cancer following tobacco use, for everyone, but especially our impressionable children," said American Cancer Society Regional Leadership Board Member Steve Egan.
According to the Society, obesity has now joined tobacco use as one of the most important risk factors for cancer death, with definite links to various types of cancer, including colorectal, breast, esophageal, kidney, pancreatic, stomach and liver cancer.
Studies show that 50 percent of overweight children, and 70 percent of overweight adolescents, will be overweight as adults. Illinois ranks 10th highest in the United States for children aged 10 to 17 who are overweight and obese.
"Preventing cancer is infinitely better than treating it," said Richard Malone, CEO, YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago. "We are so pleased to partner with the American Cancer Society to address childhood obesity as a means of preventing cancer and other major diseases for future generations."