IU LaPorte Hospital Offers School Wellness Grants
April 14, 2014 — IU LaPorte Hospital — Elementary schools in La Porte and Starke Counties are able to apply for new grants offered by Indiana University Health that will help them address a big health priority: childhood obesity.
Children should engage in one hour of physical activity every day, according to federal health guidelines. But a recent National Survey of Children’s Health found less than a third of 6-17 year olds participate in physical activity for even 20 minutes a day. To combat the growing issue of childhood obesity, IU Health will be awarding 22 IU Health Strong Schools grants to elementary schools across the state designed to help boost physical activity levels while developing healthy habits at an early age. “Ensuring a student’s good health can improve attendance and educational achievement,” said Ron Stiver, senior vice president of engagement and public affairs for IU Health. “By leveraging our expertise in health and wellness, IU Health Strong Schools will support Indiana schools in improving the health of their students, staff and communities.”
Educators surveyed by IU Health reported that time, staffing and cost are major barriers to increasing physical activity. To help overcome these hurdles, IU Health Strong Schools will offer three grant options:
· Strong Schools Grants, $1,000 each, focused on student activity (18 available)
· Stronger Schools Grants, $1,500 each, focused on student and staff activity (2 available)
· Strongest Schools Grants, $3,000 each, focused on student, staff and community activity (2 available)
IU Health is working with Action for Healthy Kids—a national organization—to offer these grants for healthy programs in the 2014-2015 school year. Schools may choose to incorporate IU Health-supported programs such as Change the Play with Andrew Luck and Playworks, or they may use the grants to help pay for a variety of items including:
· New fitness equipment
· Before- or after-school physical activity programs
· Body mass index (BMI) tracking software
· Action-based learning materials or programs
· Incentive programs for students, staff and community members
· Personnel for fitness classes for staff and community walking groups.
The Strong Schools grants are yet one more opportunity for schools locally to address childhood health. Elementary schools in La Porte and Starke counties participate in the Lil’ Fish ™ program, funded by The Foundation and administered by IU Health La Porte Hospital to engage children in a broad spectrum of healthy living choices. Schools may also create and promote shared use agreements to make school spaces—such as gyms, playgrounds and pools—available to the public after school hours. Schools located in any of the 15 counties that house an IU Health hospital may apply for an IU Health Strong Schools grant at the Action for Healthy Kids grant portal here: iuhealth.org/strongschools. The application deadline is May 2, 2014.