32 North Texas Schools Recognized for Fighting Childhood Obesity
(DALLAS, TX) – Dallas Cowboys great Troy Aikman joined the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas and The Cooper Institute® in honoring the work of North Texas schools fighting childhood obesity as part of the Healthy Zone School Recognition Program. Twenty new schools were welcomed into the program this school year, more than doubling the initiative’s size and impact, as it expands to serve 32 schools in 11 school districts across North Texas.
“As the Healthy Zone program continues to widen its reach, we hope to build on its momentum and potential to reach tens of thousands of students and their families- ensuring longer, healthier and fuller lives for this next generation,” said Aikman, co-chairman of the Healthy Zone School Recognition Program’s Advisory Council.
The 2012-13 Healthy Zone Schools were recognized on yesterday at Arapaho Classical Magnet located at 1300 Cypress Drive in Richardson. The event began with a pep-rally style program featuring a student jump rope demonstration. Aikman, Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH and United Way CEO and President Jennifer Sampson addressed an audience of students, teachers, school district representatives and community leaders. Student field day activities included relay races, obstacle courses and a healthy food demonstration followed outdoors and included with Aikman leading a football toss field day station.
Endorsed by the Texas Education Agency, The Healthy Zone School Recognition Program is a six-year initiative that will serve 70 schools, impacting more than 25,000 students and their families by the end of its final year. Schools selected receive teacher fitness and nutrition training along with approximately $8,000 in funding for physical education equipment, health promotions and parent education tools. The collaborative health initiative is designed to promote fitness starting at the school level, leading to lasting community-wide change.
“This program is a unique way to encourage and equip our community’s youth to develop lifelong healthy habits and combat the epidemic of childhood obesity,” said Cooper.
“Almost 40% of Dallas high school students are overweight or obese, and research now supports the link between physical fitness and classroom success,” said United Way’s Sampson. “With children in school seven hours a day, five days a week, it’s vital to shape an environment to move them toward both physical and academic success.”