FARMINGTON — MaineHealth was recently awarded a grant of $2,425,220 for improving physical activity and eating habits and decreasing tobacco use in seven rural Maine counties. Healthy Community Coalition of Greater Franklin County, an affiliate of Franklin Community Health Network will serve as the fiscal and project lead for the Franklin County team.

According to a press release, the grant is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Community Transformation Grants to support public health efforts to reduce chronic diseases, promote healthier lifestyles, reduce health disparities and control health care spending in small communities.

Through local partnerships, the MaineHealth award will benefit rural communities in Androscoggin, Franklin, Oxford, Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc and Waldo counties. Called the HOMEtowns Partnership, the project encompasses two of Maine’s nine local Public Health Districts, Western and Midcoast, and will reach nearly one-third of the state.

HCC will receive $220,000 of the MaineHealth award over two years to implement an initiative to increase the number of no- or low-cost recreation programs available to county youth and will create a special initiative targeting non-athlete youth who are inactive and overweight.

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