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Blue Shield of California, In Partnership With ChildObesity180, Awards Breakthrough School Programs And Technologies To Promote Physical Activity In National Innovation Competition
Blue Shield of California and ChildObesity180 today announced 11 winners of their nationwide innovation contest aimed at reversing the childhood obesity epidemic, including two schools from Southern California: Los Angeles-based Overland Elementary and Corona-Norco Unified School District in Riverside County. The competition was designed to identify and reward the most creative, impactful, and scalable school-based fitness programs and technologies to promote children's physical activity.
With the support of Blue Shield of California, the Active Schools Acceleration Project (ASAP), a ChildObesity180 initiative, launched the competition in February 2012 in a commitment with the Partnership for a Healthier America. First Lady Michelle Obama encouraged participation in the competition with a call for applications via a video message.
Southern California "School Programs" Category Regional Winners of $25,000 each:
Beating more than 400 applicants, Overland Elementary School in Los Angeles, Calif. was named one of the nine regional winners. The school's program, "Overland in Motion," is a daily, 15-minute morning fitness program for students, teachers, staff and community members. Integrating dance, yoga and cardio, the program uses music--from pop and rap to catchy educational songs and famous speeches--to get kids moving and enhance brain activity. Teachers give daily lessons in nutrition, health and wellness, and movement breaks are integrated into core lesson plans. The program was founded by one mom, Apryl Kravosky, who created, implemented and leads the program.
Corona-Norco Unified School District's "100 Mile Club" was also named as one of the regional winners. The program was designed by teacher Kara Lubin, who used the universal dream of becoming a gold medalist to inspire her hard-to-motivate students to run 100 miles a year and earn their own gold medal.
According to the 2010 California Obesity Prevention Plan published by the state's Department of Public Health, one in every nine California children are overweight or obese, partly due to the lack of adequate safe play areas and parks to keep children active. The state ranked 25th in the nation in childhood obesity, according to the "F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future" report from the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, also from 2010.
"The school environment is the perfect place for children to incorporate physical activity into their day and acquire positive attitudes about health and fitness. Increasing opportunities for children to be physically active at school reduces the risk for chronic disease later in life and is vital to improving childhood health," said Bruce Bodaken, chairman and CEO of Blue Shield of California, a sponsor of ASAP. "We're proud to support the Active Schools Acceleration Project and applaud Overland Elementary and Corona-Norco for their creative approaches to spurring physical activity among children."
Teachers, schools, and school districts submitted their school-based physical activity programs to the "School Programs" category, while the "Technology Innovation" category invited developers, inventors, and entrepreneurs to demonstrate how existing or emerging technologies could be used to inspire kids to be physically active. A panel of experts representing various fields judged the entries. A complete list of judges is available at www.ActiveSchoolsASAP.org .
Other "School Programs" Category Regional Winners of $25,000 each:
El Paso Independent School District - El Paso, Texas - Southwest Region
Hilton Head Island Elementary - Hilton Head, S.C. - Atlantic Region
Meadowview Elementary School - Farmington, Minn. - Midwest Region
Miami-Dade County Public Schools - Miami, Fla. - Southeast Region
Harlem and Washington Heights / Inwood (PS 4, PS 102, PS 128, PS 123, PS 152, PS/IS 180, PS/IS 206, PS/IS 210) - New York, N.Y. - New York/New Jersey Region
Natick Public Schools - Natick, Mass. - Northeast Region
Red Hawk Elementary - Erie, Colo. - Central/Mountain Region
"Technology Innovation" Category Grand Prize Winners of $50,000 each:
The Walking Classroom - www.thewalkingclassroom.org
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