The Alliance for a Healthier Generation

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1 The Alliance for a Healthier Generation The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, founded by the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation, was formed in 2005 as a response to the dramatic increase in prevalence of childhood obesity across the nation. Currently, as many as 1 in 3 students in most states meet the criteria for overweight or obese. The goal of the Alliance is to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity by 2015 by fostering an environment that helps all kids pursue healthy and active lifestyles. To that end the Alliance is working to positively affect the health of children by forging voluntary agreements with the healthcare and food service industries and by working with kids and schools across the nation. Georgia 2012 The Alliance believes that helping schools is one of the most efficient and effective ways to shape the lifelong health and well-being of children and adolescents. That is why the Alliance has created the Healthy Schools Program, which aims to improve schools in the areas of nutrition, physical activity and staff wellness. The Alliance launched the Healthy Schools Program in February of 2006 with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Major Accomplishments By engaging and activating the leaders who can transform the environments and communities that nurture our children, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation: Supports more than 14,000 schools in all 50 states in transforming their environments into places where students have better access to physical activity and healthier foods before, during and after school. Works with out-of-school time programs in creating healthier environments and empowering all kids to make healthy choices and become advocates for physical activity and healthy eating. Brokered voluntary agreements with the beverage, snack and dairy industries that has contributed to an 88 percent decrease in total beverage calories shipped to U.S. schools between 2004 and Negotiated agreements with 13 of the leading school meals manufacturers, group purchasing organizations and technology companies to develop, market and competitively price healthier school meal options. Convened national medical associations, leading insurers and employers that agreed to offer comprehensive health benefits to children and families for the prevention and treatment of childhood obesity. A Quick Look at Childhood Obesity in Georgia Percentage of children ages years who are overweight or obese 1 GA State rank for overweight or obese children (1 is best) 1 49 Estimated adult obesity-attributable medical expenditures, (in 2003 dollars) 2 National 37.3% 31.6% $2,233 M Rank in 2003: 37 $75 Billion National Survey of Children s Health edition of F as in Fat, published by Trust for America s Health.

2 The Healthy Schools Program The Alliance believes that helping schools is one of the most efficient and effective ways to shape the lifelong health and well-being of children and adolescents. That is why the Alliance has created the Healthy Schools Program, which aims to improve schools in the areas of nutrition, physical activity and staff wellness. The Alliance launched the Healthy Schools Program in February of 2006 with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Healthy Schools Program provides technical support to schools across the country in their efforts to engage the entire school community (including administrators, parents and school vendors) in increasing access to physical activity and healthier foods for students and staff. In addition to providing schools with best practice resources and support, the Healthy Schools Program recognizes successful schools through a national award program. The work of the Healthy Schools Program is based on the Healthy Schools Program Framework, a set of best practice guidelines developed by a national panel of experts that serves as a roadmap for creating a healthier school environment. These guidelines form the basis of the National Recognition Program which awards schools at the Bronze, Silver or Gold levels based on the policy and programmatic changes made in seven separate areas; School Meals Competitive Foods and Beverages Health Education Physical Education Policy and Systems Employee Wellness Student Wellness The Healthy Schools Program outlines the course of action for making sustainable changes in its Six Step Process: Step 1: Convene a school wellness council to plan and lead implementation of the Healthy Schools Program in the school. Step 2: Complete the Inventory in the Healthy Schools Builder to identify areas for improvement. Step 3: Develop an Action Plan based on what is important and achievable in the school community. Step 4: Identify resources that can facilitate implementation of the Action Plan. Step 5: Take Action! Follow the Action Plan to create a healthier school environment. Step 6: Celebrate Success! The Healthy Schools Program works with schools to celebrate small victories and big successes along the way. Every school has support from a Healthy Schools Program staff member who works one-on-one with the school to meet its wellness goals. Schools also have access to a team of staff with expertise in each content area. These content experts are available to support schools through phone or consultations, online trainings and professional development opportunities. Schools are able to access a wide variety of information and resources on the Healthy Schools Program website at healthiergeneration.org. Schools will find hundreds of success stories from schools around the country, toolkits that provide step-by-step information for meeting the best practice criteria, a wealth of local, state and national resources and funding opportunities to help them make meaningful and lasting changes to their school health environment. Who can join the Healthy Schools Program? Everyone. And there is no cost to join. STATE REPORT

3 State Specifics: Table 1: Initial Year Participating Schools Students Enrolled , , , ,678 Total ,842 Table 2. Characteristics of Participating Schools School Level Healthy Schools Participants (n = 160) All Schools in State (n = 2,888) Elementary 69% 54% Middle School 19% 16% High School 11% 16% Other/missing 1% 14% Free or Reduced-Price Lunch Georgia Nurse Honored as Healthy Schools Program Champion Leigh Ann Dyer is a school nurse at Black s Mill Elementary School in Dawsonville, Georgia. As part of Dyer s commitment to improving her school s health and wellness practices, she promotes various initiatives including physical activity breaks during class and more nutritious cafeteria menu options. Currently, all of Black s Mill Elementary s school meals meet the guidelines established by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. Dyer is a true healthy role model for Black s Mill Elementary s students and staff. She often uses the school track to exercise and competes in races and half marathons. Stemming from her passion for fitness, Dyer encourages her colleagues and students to use the school s exercise facilities. Due in large part to Dyer s guidance and support from the Alliance s Healthy Schools Program, Black s Mill Elementary School was awarded a Silver National Recognition Award from the Alliance. 0-24% 8% 31% 25-49% 19% 16% 50-74% 29% 28% % 45% 25% Primary Ethnicity Caucasian 35% 54% African American 58% 38% Hispanic 6% 5% School Locale City 42% 21% Suburb 28% 43% Rural or small town 30% 37% STATE REPORT

4 Table 3. A sample of Healthy Schools Program criteria and the percentage of participating schools in the state currently meeting the criteria, compared to participating schools across the country. School has an active wellness council/committee that meets at least every other month during the school year. School offers only unflavored low fat milk (1% or lower milk fat) or fat-free flavored milk with no more than 150 calories per 8 oz. Half of all grains at breakfast and half of all grains at lunch must be whole grains. All beverages for sale to students outside of the school meals program during the regular and extended school day meet or exceed the Alliance School Beverage Guidelines. All competitive foods for sale to students outside of the school meals program during the regular and extended school day meet the Alliance Competitive Foods Guidelines. At the high school level, comprehensive health education is taught in a term-long course for at least nine weeks. School staff have opportunities to participate in physical activities AND healthy eating programs. Requires all students at the elementary school level to participate in a minimum of 60 minutes of physical education per week (or 120 minutes of physical education per 2 weeks). Students are engaged in moderate to vigorous physical activity at least 50% of physical education class time. School provides opportunities for students to participate in daily physical activity during the school day (excluding recess and physical education). HSP Schools in GA (n = 154) HSP Schools in U.S. (n =4,252) 77% 70% 88% 89% 80% 77% 69% 75% 52% 59% 93% 85% 65% 58% 74% 71% 94% 93% 56% 62% Inventory Content Area Healthy Schools Inventory The Healthy Schools Inventory is an interactive online tool designed to help guide schools through the process of conducting a needs assessment, prioritizing action steps and developing a customized action plan for school health and wellness. All schools are encouraged to complete the Inventory soon after they begin participating in the program and at least once each year thereafter. The Healthy Schools Inventory is based on the Healthy Schools Program Framework and requires responses in seven content areas (i.e., Policy/Systems, School Meals, Competitive Foods and Beverages, Health Education, Physical Education, Student Wellness and Employee Wellness). The scoring rubric designates three levels of recognition for achievement: Bronze, Silver and Gold. The evaluation team uses the Healthy Schools Inventory to assess change in school policies and practices over time. Policy/Systems School Meals Competitive Foods and Beverages Health Education Physical Education School Employee Wellness Student Wellness Total Score 0% 25% 50% 75% 100% Percent of Schools State Nation Figure 1. Percent of schools showing an improvement of at least one item in each content area of the Healthy Schools Inventory for Georgia (n = 102 schools) and for all states (n = 2,917 schools). STATE REPORT

5 If You Offer It, They Will Come WHITE SULPHUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL GAINESVILLE, GEORGIA When White Sulphur Elementary School decided to launch a new afterschool fitness club, they worried that they wouldn t have a high attendance rate. When more than 70 students showed up on the first day, they realized that they had severely underestimated the need and the desires of students to have an outlet for physical activity after the school day. Principal Dr. Ann Murphey decided her school needed a program where they can let students be active and show them that it can be fun. She asked physical education teacher Phil Brooks to start the program. He asked for teacher volunteers to stay after school to run the program once a week. Brooks decided to market the new club through his PE Leader of the Month program. The PE leader of the month talked about the club during the morning announcements throughout September and then they sent letters and permission slips home. The PE Leader also helps lead activity breaks on the morning TV program and they lead stretches and assist the PE teacher during class. Since they had so many more students than they anticipated, they have had to make some arrangements to accommodate for the large group and inclement weather. Having just joined the Alliance for a Healthier Generation s Healthy Schools Program, they were able to check in with their new Relationship Manager, a Georgia-based Alliance staff member who will provide direct assistance to the school, and this is when they heard about Adventure to Fitness, a free program for teachers that keeps students moving and learning during 30 minute episodes. This came in handy during some recent cold and rainy weather when they had to keep everyone moving in the gym. Georgia School Bands Together for Health NORTH HALL MIDDLE SCHOOL GAINESVILLE, GEORGIA When North Hall Middle School joined the Alliance for a Healthier Generation s Healthy Schools Program last fall, the wellness council identified helping students and staff increase physical activity as a top priority. We wanted to find a way to make this fun but also to encourage accountability when it comes to getting 60 minutes of physical activity each day, said Debbie Wiley, physical education teacher at North Hall Middle School. After learning about a physical activity band called the S2H Replay from a student, the wellness council members thought they might have found what they needed The S2H Replay stores the minutes of activity throughout the day, then sends a reward code once the day s goal is met. As the goals are met, points begin to accumulate which can be redeemed for various prizes. They launched the program in January with 20 staff members who agreed to start wearing the S2H bands and then received donations to purchase 20 more for students. They carefully selected a diverse group of students to give the bands to, representing different grades, sizes and activity levels. Soon more students starting buying their own bands and Wiley started a club called BAND-ED. Wiley joked, You might say we banded together. With the physical education and technology departments leading the way, the members of the BAND-ED club added links to the S2H website on the school site, created a promotional video and ran radio ads on the school station to get everyone excited about the bands. They started a school Twitter account so students could compare stories on how they were getting their 60 minutes of physical activity and the computer programming club developed a program to track a competition between grade levels on the school website. The principal has joined the challenge, we have family members who have BAND-ED with us and we have received some thank you notes from students for helping them get active, said Wiley. I field s and questions every day from parents and students on how they can join the program! The bands have generated a good deal of excitement in the school and students and teachers enjoy looking at each other s bands and talking Continued on Next Page STATE REPORT

6 Continued from Page 5 about who is in the lead. My favorite stories, Wiley shares, involve the formerly non-active students who have chosen to take the challenge. They are changing their unhealthy habits into good ones by playing outside in the yard, taking the dog for a walk, or just strolling around their neighborhood. They won t rest until the monitor reads full and the reward code flashes verifying that they have had a successful day. Their physical health is improving and we see this through weight loss and increased self-confidence. Personally, I have 28 days in a row of hitting my 60 minute activity goal and not a day goes by that I don t have at least 100 students checking my wrist to be sure I have been active. How could I not be ready for those smiling faces that are beaming with pride knowing their heath teacher is an example of staying active to stay healthy? Georgia Student Joins the National Youth Advisory Board Major Dukes is an active 12-year-old from Greensboro, Georgia. This past school year, he won the Citizenship Award, the Honor Roll, the Community Service Award, the Teachers Award, and Perfect Attendance. He believes in being strong academically as well as leading a healthy lifestyle. This past year was Major s first year as a Youth Advisory Board Member. He began the year by inviting kids to join the movement at a Moving and Grooving event. Then Major started teaching 21 children about health using the empowerme4life curriculum, a healthy living course created by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. The Lt. Governor of GA, Casey Cagle, declared Healthy Kids Day at the Capitol and invited Major to speak on the GA Senate floor about his work. He led the Senators in a one minute physical activity energizer that was met with rousing applause. Lieutenant Governor Cagle Honored Georgia School Wellness Leaders for Efforts to Combat Childhood Obesity More than 50 key school wellness leaders from around Georgia administrators, school nutrition directors, school nurses, health and physical education teachers, and food service staff came together on March 14, 2012 for an event designed to laud education professionals for their success in making healthy changes in their schools. The event featured Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle and school health experts from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. The participants spent the morning sharing success stories, challenges, networking and collecting resources. Nine schools in Georgia have received the Silver National Recognition Award from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. These schools and districts spent some time sharing how they achieved this level of success and how they have changed the culture at their schools. STATE REPORT

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