The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) Board of Directors approved 34 incentive grants for communities and schools through the TSET Healthy Incentive Program on Thursday, including one $30,000 grant for Guthrie Public Schools (GPS).

TSET funds were awarded to 10 communities and 24 school districts that have adopted health promoting policies and strategies, according to a press release. The TSET Healthy Incentive Program for schools and communities are part of a comprehensive effort to prevent and reduce the leading causes of death in Oklahoma – heart disease, stroke and cancer by preventing unhealthy behaviors before they take root. Grants are awarded to communities and schools that have implemented key strategies aimed at creating an environment that encourages Oklahomans to eat better, move more and be tobacco free.

“The work of the Logan County Health Department has been instrumental in securing this grant along with our CFO, Michelle Chapple and our Executive Director of Elementary Education, Carmen Walters,” said GPS Superintendent Dr. Mike Simpson.

Strategies for schools include district wellness policies that focus on quality nutrition and increased physical activity to improve the health of students. Schools must also provide a tobacco-free, vapefree environment at all times.

“District wide, we follow the healthy meal guidelines of the USDA and we are a 100% tobacco free zone,” Simpson said.  “We have multiple educational opportunities which allow students to be exposed to healthy lifestyles.  Our Physical Education classes across the district promote a healthy lifestyle with regard to fitness.”

TSET leaders said grant funds are often used to leverage additional partners for projects that promote health. Incentive grant amounts vary based on community population, school enrollment size and the types of health-promoting strategies implemented.

“We are proud to recognize communities and schools that are engaging in conversations about how to improve invest in citizens and students in a community,” said TSET Executive Director John Woods. “Preventing and reducing tobacco use and obesity in Oklahoma takes a comprehensive approach that supports healthy habits, removes barriers for healthy behaviors and encourages Oklahomans to be tobacco free. Combined with other prevention efforts, these communities and schools are working to reduce the demand on an already stressed health care system, saving lives and saving money and improving quality of life.”

In communities, key strategies for health include tobacco-free, vapefree environments, suicide prevention, supporting active transportation such as biking or walking, offering and promoting fruits and vegetables through community gardens, farmers markets and making healthy foods more appealing and affordable.

TSET awarded a total of $394,000 to communities and schools.

TSET serves as a partner and bridge builder for organizations working towards shaping a healthier future for all Oklahomans. TSET provides leadership at the intersections of health by working across the state, by cultivating innovative and life-changing research, and by working across public and private sectors to develop, support, implement and evaluate creative strategies to take advantage of emerging opportunities to improve the public’s health. TSET. Better lives through better health.

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