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EnergyNow To Combat Childhood Obesity

Armen Hareyan's picture

Childhood Obesity

EnergyNow!, an alliance comprised of leading authorities in the physical education, nutrition and fitness technology fields, announced the availability of physical education grants to help schools in the tri-state New York area combat childhood obesity through a results-based program.

In an effort to energize and motivate children to participate in regular physical activity and healthy eating habits, EnergyNow! will build physical education and nutrition education programs that are doable, sustainable and effective. This results-based program will allow physical educators to collect valid and reliable data to monitor student progress and their program's effectiveness throughout the year. The program's resources will also serve as the foundation for students to lead active and healthier lifestyles by providing physical activity and nutrition education lessons that can be applied to their everyday lives.

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"The EnergyNow! alliance recognizes that increasing students' physical activity level is critical to effectively address childhood obesity," said Charlene Burgeson, alliance chair, EnergyNow!. "The grants will provide physical education teachers with training along with the needed resources to monitor student progress and track results throughout the year."

The grants will provide critical funding for schools to purchase physical education equipment based on their specific needs and schools will receive heart rate monitors, assessment technology and training provided by Polar, a manufacturer of fitness products. Additionally, the School Nutrition Foundation will provide a set of nutrition education lessons that include a lifestyle approach to eating habits based on actual cafeteria choices and the National Association for Sport and Physical Education will give training on the National Standards for Physical Education. Information packets will also be distributed to grant recipients that include additional resources and details about various activities, contests and promotions available through EnergyNow!.

An estimated 17 percent of children and adolescents from ages 2-19 years are overweight according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has declared childhood obesity a national epidemic. The National Center for Health Statistics reports that almost one in four children do not participate in any free-time physical activity.

"We know that when students are personally engaged, positive change can take place," said Burgeson. "This program focuses on results and aims to engage students by energizing and motivating them to get physically active and eat healthy."

In the first year, public middle schools in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut will be eligible to apply for the grants which are valued at more than $12,000 each. The pilot program will award 10 grants. Eligibility requirements include state certification requirements for physical education teachers, a standards-based curriculum in place and an agreement to participate in various grant activities and professional development trainings throughout the grant period, among others.