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County awarded $16 million to fight obesity

San Diego County was awarded a $16 million grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to fund programs that promote healthy eating and physical activity, it was announced Friday.

Through the two-year Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant, the county’s Health and Human Services Agency will collaborate with community groups working to increase physical activity, improve accessibility to nutritious food and reduce obesity.

Projects include increasing the consumption of healthy and locally grown foods in local schools, bolstering food stamp use at farmers’ markets and promoting before- and after-school programs, according to the HHSA.

San Diego County was among 44 communities nationwide to be awarded funds by the CDC.

According to the HHSA, nearly 30 percent of children in the fifth, seventh and ninth grades in San Diego County are overweight or obese.