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    ‘Eat, Play, Grow’ collaborative wins 2017 Mayo Clinic Shared Value Award

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ROCHESTER, Minn.  — Mayo Clinic has awarded $30,000 in funding to “Eat, Play, Grow” through its annual Shared Value Award. "Eat, Play, Grow" is an effort to help families include healthier habits in their daily lives through educational outreach and enrichment experiences.

“The Mayo Clinic Shared Value Grant was created in 2016 to recognize and support collaborative efforts to address community health priorities in Olmsted County,” says Erin Sexton, director, Community Relations, Mayo Clinic. “This annual award encourages teamwork – a core value at Mayo Clinic. Collaboration is essential to addressing our community’s toughest challenges.”

The "Eat, Play, Grow” collaborative includes the Minnesota Children’s Museum — Rochester, Olmsted County Public Health, Childhood Obesity Taskforce, Families First of Minnesota and Rochester Hy-Vee stores. In 2018, the program plans to encourage more than 900 local children and families to make healthier food decisions and include physical activity in their daily routines through play-based activities.

"Eat, Play, Grow" was among three collaborative community projects voted on among Mayo Clinic staff. The Mayo Clinic Shared Value Award is given to a project helping to address one or more of the five priority community health needs identified in the 2016 Olmsted County Community Health Needs Assessment.  The "Eat, Play, Grow" program will help to address obesity and financial stress.

“We know that one-third of our school-age children in Rochester qualify for free and reduced lunch. For a lot of families, it is very difficult to eat healthfully on a tight budget,” says Heidi Mestad, executive director, Minnesota Children’s Museum ─ Rochester. “With this grant we look forward to growing our support for families in the community to make it easier for kids and families to choose nutritious, affordable foods; prepare them; and incorporate more fun, physical activities into busy day-to-day schedules. Minnesota Children's Museum ─ Rochester is focused on health and well-being as a central impact area for our region. And, with this grant, and our collaborative partners, we will further make a difference and inspire our community members through experiential learning.”

The Minnesota Children’s Museum – Rochester will co-develop programming with Olmsted County and Families First to ensure activities serve Olmsted County families well. Rochester Hy-Vee stores will provide healthy foods to be served at the events and have a Hy-Vee dietician help families learn how to access healthy foods. The Childhood Obesity Task Force will evaluate the program’s effect with families and share their findings broadly for ongoing research needs in human behavior and community health improvement related to obesity.


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Kelley Luckstein, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005,