The Safeway Foundation Helps Fight Childhood Obesity with $2 Million for Research and Prevention Programs

Sep 24, 2012, 12:00 ET from Safeway Inc.

PLEASANTON, Calif., Sept. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Safeway Foundation announced today it is giving $2 million to community health programs and hospitals to launch grass-roots projects for the prevention and treatment of childhood obesity.

The "Innovative Approaches to Preventing Childhood Obesity" grants are a part of an overall outreach and commitment to community health that has become synonymous with Safeway Inc., one of the largest supermarket companies in the U.S.

"Our commitment is to strengthen communities, create pioneering programs, expand services and implement new strategies to support the health of children and teens," said Larree Renda, Safeway Executive Vice President and Chair of the Safeway Foundation. "These funds will allow doctors, researchers and others in the medical and healthcare communities to launch effective new programs and evaluate the effectiveness of existing ones with the goal of helping children live happier, healthier lives."

The Safeway Foundation's partner in this effort is Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland in Northern California. In early 2012, the partners invited organizations to apply for grants of up to $100,000 for grass-roots childhood obesity projects in the geographic areas served by Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Tom Thumb, Randalls, Carrs and Dominick's stores. Specifically, they looked to promote collaborations between the medical community and local community-based agencies to help children become more physically active, improve food choices and create better access to healthy foods. More than 150 organizations applied for funding.

Some of the more unique and ambitious programs to receive funding include:

  • Children's Hospital Foundation (Washington, D.C.)George Washington Medical School and the Washington, D.C. schools are also participants in this program which trains medical school students to act as health mentors for school children.
  • University of Houston (Texas) College of Education — Funds will expand an existing intervention program for hundreds of girls in their communities. The after-school program consists of daily physical activity by a fitness coordinator, nutrition education by a registered dietician and cooking classes with a professional chef.  Parents attend weekly sessions.  The program also includes grocery store tours, a 5K run, a speaker series and cooking demonstrations.
  • Tri-City Health Center (Fremont, CA) — Funds will allow 60 children and their families to participate in the "Eat Well, Live Active" pediatric obesity intervention program. This new partnership with the Fremont/Newark YMCA provides crucial nutritional counseling and education services as well as a robust fitness curriculum to overweight and obese children ages 9-13, as well as their siblings who are also at risk for becoming overweight or obese.
  • Cooper Institute (Dallas, TX) — This research project will evaluate the health impact of a nutrition and fitness video game, "Quest To Lava Mountain," on players. The project is the result of a unique partnership of the country's premiere institutes for preventative medicine and the National Football League, which promotes childhood fitness through its "NFL Play 60" program. Working with participating schools and The University of Texas School of Public Health, the team will also evaluate the game's ability to affect positive change on the players' families and, in turn, their communities.

The following organizations also received grants to fight childhood obesity:

  • Center for Ecoliteracy (Berkeley, CA)
  • Children's Hospital Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Chiricahua Community Health Centers, Inc. (Bisbee, AZ)
  • Contra Costa Regional Health Foundation (Martinez, CA)
  • Mary Bridge Children's Foundation (Tacoma, WA)
  • North East Medical Services (San Francisco, CA)
  • San Francisco General Hospital Foundation (San Francisco, CA)
  • Seattle Children's Hospital Foundation (Seattle, WA)
  • Texas Children's Hospital (Houston, TX)
  • Virginia Garcia Memorial Foundation (Cornelius, OR)
  • Westside Health Authority (Chicago, IL)
  • Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital Foundation (Yakima, WA)

Safeway and The Safeway Foundation have a long history of supporting health and wellness programs throughout North America. In addition to raising more than $180 million for breast cancer and prostate cancer research and treatment, they have raised $133 million for organizations that conduct neuromuscular disease research and provide medical services and outreach to people with disabilities.

Additionally, the company's health and wellness product offerings, along with its wellness programs geared toward its own employees, have earned Safeway recognition and awards from the supermarket industry, the business community and in the Corporate Social Responsibility world. In 2012, for the second year in a row, Safeway was named to Ethisphere Institute's list of World's Most Ethical Companies and has been repeatedly named to the American City Business Journals' list of Healthiest Employers (Bay Area). Modern Healthcare Magazine named Safeway CEO Steve Burd to the list of the Most Powerful People in Healthcare, recognizing his work on healthcare reform.

About Safeway 
Safeway Inc. is a Fortune 100 company and one of the largest food and drug retailers in North America, based on sales. The company operates 1,666 stores in the United States and western Canada and had annual sales of $43.6 billion in 2011. The company's common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol SWY.

Contact: Teena Massingill, 925-467-3810,

SOURCE Safeway Inc.