By Rebecca Zemencik, Managing Editor • firstname.lastname@example.org
HEGINS – The Pennsylvania Department of Health is partnering with Penn State PRO Wellness to provide 15 districts in Pennsylvania with funding and resources necessary to create and implement supportive nutrition environments, quality physical education and physical activity in schools.
The Tri-Valley High School Physical Education Department received one-on-one support and up to $11,000 over a two-year period to make sustainable changes to nutrition and physical activity policies and practices as a part of a statewide Building Healthy Schools grant program.
Last year Ms. Sara Nestor, high school physical education and health teacher, started the application for a grant. She created a wellness committee with employees and faculty of the district.
Nestor and Wayne Klinger, a Tri-Valley High School physical education teacher, created an action plan and submitted it and were approved for the grant.
The grant will help to promote healthy eating in the elementary schools and high school and also with heart rate monitors they hope to create an understanding of the heart during exercise in the high school physical education classes.
“During the fourth marking period we have several stations set up in the gym where students, while wearing the bracelets, rotate through including bouncing on balls while throwing smaller balls to each other, lifting, gymnastics, jumping rope, and running,” said Klinger.
The students work their way through the stations all while having their heart rates monitored and also gaining strength and endurance to prepare them for the half-mile run.
Klinger said the students run a half-mile in the fall and then again in the spring.
“The program is pretty neat because students can compare how much their half-mile run has improved in the spring compared to the one they ran in the beginning of the year,” said Klinger.
The students run five laps around the outdoor tennis courts at the school.
“Wellness policies are key to creating and sustaining healthy school environments. We are so pleased Tri-Valley is undertaking efforts to improve the health of students, staff and families through the work of the school wellness council,” said Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Karen Murphy.
“Obesity affects one in three children in Pennsylvania, and in an effort to reverse this trend, we can encourage and promote lifelong healthy eating and physical activity habits by implementing school health initiatives,” said Jennifer L. Kraschnewski, M.D., M.P.H., executive director of PRO Wellness. “We are excited to support Tri-Valley and look forward to seeing the funded policies and practices put into place.”
District wellness teams will complete a self-assessment of current health and wellness practices and policies, develop an action plan focused on nutrition and physical activity, and implement the action plan.