Blue Shield of California helps the Active Schools Acceleration Project award $500,000 to nine school programs and two Grand Prize technology winners in nationwide competition aimed at reversing childhood obesity trend
SAN FRANCISCO and LOS ANGELES, May 22, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Blue Shield of California and ChildObesity180 today announced 11 winners of their nationwide innovation contest aimed at reversing the childhood obesity epidemic, including two schools from Southern California: Los Angeles-based Overland Elementary and Corona-Norco Unified School District in Riverside County. The competition was designed to identify and reward the most creative, impactful, and scalable school-based fitness programs and technologies to promote children's physical activity.
With the support of Blue Shield of California, the Active Schools Acceleration Project (ASAP), a ChildObesity180 initiative, launched the competition in February 2012 in a commitment with the Partnership for a Healthier America. First Lady Michelle Obama encouraged participation in the competition with a call for applications via a video message.
Southern California "School Programs" Category Regional Winners of $25,000 each:
Beating more than 400 applicants, Overland Elementary School in Los Angeles, Calif. was named one of the nine regional winners. The school's program, "Overland in Motion," is a daily, 15-minute morning fitness program for students, teachers, staff and community members. Integrating dance, yoga and cardio, the program uses music—from pop and rap to catchy educational songs and famous speeches—to get kids moving and enhance brain activity. Teachers give daily lessons in nutrition, health and wellness, and movement breaks are integrated into core lesson plans. The program was founded by one mom, Apryl Kravosky, who created, implemented and leads the program.
Corona-Norco Unified School District's "100 Mile Club" was also named as one of the regional winners. The program was designed by teacher Kara Lubin, who used the universal dream of becoming a gold medalist to inspire her hard-to-motivate students to run 100 miles a year and earn their own gold medal.
According to the 2010 California Obesity Prevention Plan published by the state's Department of Public Health, one in every nine California children are overweight or obese, partly due to the lack of adequate safe play areas and parks to keep children active. The state ranked 25th in the nation in childhood obesity, according to the "F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future" report from the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, also from 2010.
"The school environment is the perfect place for children to incorporate physical activity into their day and acquire positive attitudes about health and fitness. Increasing opportunities for children to be physically active at school reduces the risk for chronic disease later in life and is vital to improving childhood health," said Bruce Bodaken, chairman and CEO of Blue Shield of California, a sponsor of ASAP. "We're proud to support the Active Schools Acceleration Project and applaud Overland Elementary and Corona-Norco for their creative approaches to spurring physical activity among children."
Teachers, schools, and school districts submitted their school-based physical activity programs to the "School Programs" category, while the "Technology Innovation" category invited developers, inventors, and entrepreneurs to demonstrate how existing or emerging technologies could be used to inspire kids to be physically active. A panel of experts representing various fields judged the entries. A complete list of judges is available at www.ActiveSchoolsASAP.org.
Other "School Programs" Category Regional Winners of $25,000 each:
- El Paso Independent School District - El Paso, Texas – Southwest Region
- Hilton Head Island Elementary - Hilton Head, S.C. – Atlantic Region
- Meadowview Elementary School - Farmington, Minn. – Midwest Region
- Miami-Dade County Public Schools - Miami, Fla. – Southeast Region
- Harlem and Washington Heights / Inwood (PS 4, PS 102, PS 128, PS 123, PS 152, PS/IS 180, PS/IS 206, PS/IS 210) - New York, N.Y. – New York/New Jersey Region
- Natick Public Schools - Natick, Mass. – Northeast Region
- Red Hawk Elementary - Erie, Colo. – Central/Mountain Region
"Technology Innovation" Category Grand Prize Winners of $50,000 each:
Each of the regional "School Programs" category winners will receive $25,000 to further advance health and wellness programming in their school or district. On June 13th in Washington, DC, two of these nine winners will be chosen as National Winners and their award will increase to $100,000 each. The two "Technology Innovation" Grand Prize winners will receive $50,000 each to advance their technologies.
Working closely with leading researchers and expert staff at Tufts University and ChildObesity180, National "School Program" and "Technology Innovation" winners will participate in pilot studies to expand their programs and technologies to schools of different types, sizes, and geographies across the country.
About Blue Shield of California
Blue Shield of California, an independent member of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, is a not-for-profit health plan with 3.3 million members and 4,800 employees. Founded in 1939 and headquartered in San Francisco, Blue Shield of California provides health, life, dental, vision, and Medicare insurance and health care service plans in California, has one of the largest provider networks, and $9.7 billion in annual revenue. In 2012, Blue Shield of California was named one of the World's Most Ethical Companies. Since 2005, the company has contributed more than $170 million to Blue Shield of California Foundation, one of BusinessWeek's most generous corporate foundations. Contact your local agent or broker about Blue Shield of California products and services, or visit www.blueshieldca.com.
Active Schools Acceleration Project (ASAP) is an initiative of ChildObesity180, an organization committed to fostering cross-sector collaboration to reverse the trend of childhood obesity within one generation's time. The ChildObesity180 membership is comprised of national leaders from the public, nonprofit, academic, and private sectors who are using their reach and expertise to drive an integrated national strategy to prevent childhood obesity. The organization is chaired by Peter Dolan, former CEO of Bristol-Myers Squibb. Leading Tufts University obesity researcher Dr. Christina Economos serves as vice-chair and director and Dr. Miriam Nelson is the co-director. Founded in 2009, ChildObesity180 is conducted in collaboration with Tufts University. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the JPB Foundation are strategic funders. The Innovation Competition is funded by a consortium of the nation's leading health plans.
Blue Shield of California
Edelman Public Relations
SOURCE Blue Shield of California