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Simmons Middle School Honored for Fighting Childhood Obesity

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09-16-2014 (HCS) - The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation, recognized Ira F. Simmons Middle School with a 2014 National Healthy Schools Award for transforming its environment into a healthier place. Ira F. Simmons Middle School received this award at the Alliance’s 2014 Leaders Summit in Washington, DC on September 13.

As a recipient of the National Healthy Schools Bronze Award, SMS has transformed its school environment.

The school, as a whole, is more aware of the importance of healthy choices and that when you make these choices, they can change your life in a positive way,” Joey Chambers, SMS Pathways to Progress Instructor said of the school’s changes since joining the Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program.

SMS personnel have thought of innovative ideas to promote healthy behaviors including implementing Meatless Mondays in the cafeteria, helping teachers add physical activity breaks in the classroom, and swapping unhealthy dessert options with tasty, fresh alternatives. Teachers are also benefitting from healthier options for breakfast and lunch at school and access to a workout facility, the school’s track, and gym to help the school continue to “walk the walk.”

“We applaud the achievements of our 2014 honorees,” said Dr. Howell Wechsler, Chief Executive Officer, Alliance for a Healthier Generation. “They are exemplary in their efforts to get students and staff eating better and moving more, and they prove that it is possible to build healthy school environmentsWe need thousands more schools across the country like Ira F. Simmons Middle School,—schools that are fully committed to promoting health and wellness, which is vital to improving students’ academic performance.”

To earn the National Healthy Schools Award, SMS improved its nutrition and wellness services and physical activity programs to meet or exceed stringent standards set by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program.

The Healthy Schools Program provides schools guidance, professional development, access to national experts, and evidence-based resources and tools to help them create and sustain healthy school environments. Schools are eligible for Bronze, Silver, or Gold National Healthy Schools Awards based on their level of achievement. The Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program has helped more than 24,000 schools increase quality physical activity, health education, and healthy eating; and this year, 250 schools are being recognized with a National Healthy Schools Award.

To further strengthen the Healthy Schools Program, the Alliance brokers and implements voluntary agreements with industry leaders to provide schools better access to healthier foods, beverages, and physical activity. Additionally, the Alliance’s landmark agreement with the American Beverage Association has contributed to a 90 percent reduction in calories from beverages shipped to schools between the 2004-2010 school years.

The Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. To become a healthier place for students to learn and staff to work, any school in the United States can enroll and receive assistance and support, at no cost. Find out more at HealthierGeneration.org.

About the Alliance for a Healthier Generation

In response to the rapid increase in childhood obesity rates over the last three decades, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation was founded to serve as a catalyst for improving children’s health. The Alliance works with schools, companies, community organizations, healthcare professionals and families to build healthier environments where children thrive. The Alliance’s current work directly impacts more than 20 million children, with a focus on low-income and minority populations who are at increased risk for obesity and other diseases. Millions more young people benefit from system changes initiated through partnerships between the Alliance and the corporate sector.

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, measurable, and timely change. For 40 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org.



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