Mary's Center Receives Healthier Kids For Our Future Grant from Cigna Foundation

The grant will provide nutrition counseling to 300 under-resourced children

SILVER SPRING, Md. - Marylandian -- Silver Spring, MD ― Today, Mary's Center announced they have received a $125,000 Healthier Kids For Our Future® grant from the Cigna Foundation. This funding will provide high-quality, culturally competent nutrition counseling to 300 under-resourced caregivers and their at-risk children ages 0-17 in the State of Maryland.

Insurance in Maryland does not reimburse nutrition services for kids unless they already have diabetes, gestational diabetes, or renal disease, so the nutrition services Mary's Center provides to families, regardless of their ability to pay, are critical for children at risk of developing a chronic condition.

"This generous grant from the Cigna Foundation will allow us to reach 3.5 times more pediatric participants and their families with essential nutrition services and help them achieve better health outcomes," said Maria Gomez, Mary's Center President and CEO. "We have witnessed drastic changes in body mass index (BMI) percentiles in children since the start of the pandemic due to exacerbated socioeconomic disparities, and these intervention services are crucial for the health and well-being of our young ones."

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Through the Healthier Kids For Our Future grant, bilingual nutritionists and health educators from Mary's Center will provide one-on-one virtual education sessions. Caregivers of infants will learn about appropriate feeding schedules, infant hunger and satiety cues, and creating healthy, balanced meals. In addition, families will learn about appropriate portions, foods that support a growing child, and the value in family mealtime. Mary's Center providers will also use an evidence-based food security screening tool to help identify participants who need connection to wraparound services and external food resources.

"Providing caregivers of at-risk children with nutritional counseling enables kids to achieve better health outcomes today, and supports their growth and wellbeing in the future," said Monica Schmude, MidAtlantic market president for Cigna. "The important work Mary's Center is doing to improve nutrition education and address health disparities that affect too many kids in our community will make such a difference in the lives of those they serve, and we're honored to be a part of it."

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Through July 31, 2022, Mary's Center will provide a total of 900 nutrition counseling sessions to 300 under-resourced pediatric participants.

To learn more about Mary's Center's nutrition services, click here:

Lyda Vanegas

Source: Mary's Center

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