BLEND (Better Living: Exercise and Nutrition Daily) is a coalition of medical professionals, policy makers, educators, health care advocates, and parents who are committed to improving the health of children in Central Minnesota by reducing the epidemic of childhood obesity. The project is funded by the CentraCare Health Foundation and partners with a large group of medical, educational and non-profit organizations.

The coalition was initiated in 2006 and has identified four main areas of focus:

  • Physical Activity
  • Nutrition
  • Medical Community
  • Advocacy

By coordinating resources and programs in each focus area, BLEND strives to make a significant impact on childhood obesity. In 2006, BLEND set out on an ambitious journey to lower the BMI (body-mass index) of children in Central Minnesota by 10% over a ten-year timeline.

Today, we’ve learned BLEND activities have contributed to a healthier St. Cloud. In fact, CentraCare Health recently released data that showed the rate of 12-year-old boys who were overweight or obese dropped by 28 percent over six years in the greater St. Cloud region. See Data.

Health leaders credit the drop to BLEND. “Today’s 12-year-olds entered school just as BLEND was beginning its work in elementary schools. These students experienced healthy options, activities and environments for their entire school careers,” said David Tilstra, MD, president of CentraCare Clinic. “To see that their obesity rates are not increasing, but rather decreasing as the children age, is encouraging.”

Still work to do…

BLEND will continue to advance its strategic priorities to support policy, environmental and system changes that are broad-based and sustainable. Page through our 2015 BLEND Report to learn more about our priorities and efforts throughout Central Minnesota.

For detailed information about BLEND and resources, contact Kathy Geislinger (BLEND Coordinator).