Stimulus funds aim to help kick cigarettes
“I think this advertisement suggests that Congress should give much greater scrutiny to how grant funds are being used once they’ve been distributed to states, cities and local organizations to see whether they are effective,” he said.
Many conservatives have slammed the whole grant program as a government intrusion into private decisions, one that gives local cities and organizations a financial incentive to pry.
Phil Kerpen, director of policy for Americans for Prosperity, wrote last year that the CPPW grants amounted to “a sweeping micromanagement of our lives that we didn’t vote for, made even worse by the fact that it’s being funded by stimulus money that was supposed to put people other than lobbyists back to work.”
Despite the criticism, Zoe Tobin, a spokeswoman for the New York City Health Department, suggested that taxpayers are getting a good bang for their buck from the ad because “obesity-related illness costs New York State residents nearly $8 billion in medical costs each year.”
Other CPPW grant winners gave the effort positive reviews.
Beth Morris, director of community health partnerships at Columbus Regional Hospital in Bartholomew County, Ind., said the county’s $2.1 million CPPW grant has helped pay for “evidence-based strategies for changing policy, environment and systems to make it easier to make healthy choices.”
The grant money has helped the hospital lower the costs of having healthy food options in its vending machines and underwritten its ability to start offering a daily healthy meal option at a reduced cost. The money also has helped pay for posting signs by elevators “that encourage people to take the stairs instead of the elevator.”
“The choices people make are limited to the choices they are given,” Ms. Morris said.
Lillian Rivera, a health department administrator in Miami-Dade County, Fla., said the department recently allocated some of the $14.7 million CPPW grant for a media campaign. Starting as early as March, 46 schools in the county will receive new vending machines equipped to offer students healthier food options, such as apples.
“In our younger population, we have seen an increase in our children in their obesity rates,” she said. “We want to reverse that trend.”
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