Local Boys & Girls Club gets money for health program

The Boys & Girls Club of the Harbor Area has been awarded a $10,000 start-up grant from the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation.

The money will go toward Triple Play, a program to help children exercise, eat healthier foods and feel better about themselves by engaging in healthy relationships.

The Boys & Girls Club of America and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launched the program in 2005 to combat childhood obesity. According to the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation, the rate of children with obesity has nearly tripled since 1980.

Harbor Area Executive Director Dan Monahan said the money will go toward things like staffing, sports equipment and cooking utensils.

"It's exercise, but we do it in a fun manner," he said. "Instead of playing a game of basketball we'll have a obstacle course and they'll all cheer each other on."

The grant was written for the Lou Yantorn branch at Kaiser Elementary School and the Westside branch at Rea Elementary School, both in Costa Mesa, but Monahan said they are trying to implement the program at all the Harbor Area branches, which are also in Newport Beach and Irvine.

According to the Anthem foundation, a study showed 2,000 children ages 9 to 14 in the program increased their daily exercise to 90% of the recommended daily amount, while children outside the program decreased exercise to 78%.

The Harbor Area club is one of four to receive the start-up grant as part of a three-year, $5-million grant toward the program.

alicia.lopez2@latimes.com

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