Plans are underway locally to apply for a provincial grant under a new program to fight childhood obesity.

It's known as the Healthy Kids Community Challenge.

The challenge is for local community members to come together for a common goal---healthier children and youth.

Dr. Gary Kirk, the CEO of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, is spearheading the campaign.

He says a meeting will be held soon with officials in the city and county to start making plans.

An application would be made to the province for up to $1.5 million over a four year period.

The money will support selected communities to assess needs, develop and implement theme based action plans.

"There is a meeting that's being called and all the mayors of the local municipalities and the CEO's of the local municipalities, as well as the school boards, have been invited," said Kirk. "Sort of a higher level meeting to coordinate activities around this challenge."
Kirk says something needs to be done because it is costing the city and county almost $300 million a year due to the effects of unhealthy eating, physical inactivity and unhealthy weights.

"$298 million a year in direct and indirect costs whether it be through hospitalization, pharmaceutical costs, missed work days, missed school," he said. "All those things mount up to $298 million a year."

The deadline to apply for a grant is March 14.