WASHINGTON, May 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF) and Discovery Education, in partnership with Sports Authority, today awarded schools in South Carolina, Arizona and Illinois with $50,000 in prizes as the winners of the 2012 Find Your Balance Challenge, a program designed to engage K-5 students in creating practical, long-term improvements in nutrition and physical activity at their school.
The Grand Prize winner from Myrtle Beach Intermediate School in Myrtle Beach, S.C., will receive $30,000 in sporting equipment and cash awards from Sports Authority for their program on the importance of balancing calories-in with calories-out. Principal Dana Penick entered on behalf of the school and recruited a Healthy Challenge Team from her fourth and fifth grade students. An entirely student-led and student-written entry, Myrtle Beach Intermediate School recognized a need for energy balance education and set a goal to increase healthy snacking and physical activity.
Integrating HWCF and Discovery Education's Energy Balance 101 curriculum, students encouraged participation by creating an "exercise menu" and giving their peers choices for how to expend energy. The students engaged the entire community in their efforts through donations from the local Food Lion, asking parents to encourage exercise on weekends, hosting an event at the local recreation center and working with the cafeteria staff to provide more fruit and vegetable snack options.
"It is incredible to see students like those at Myrtle Beach Intermediate School take ownership of the energy balance message," says HWCF President Lisa Gable. "It is imperative that children learn the basics of active, healthy living at a young age."
"We are proud to reward these students for exploring their natural curiosity and crafting unique and creative ways to educate their peers on important health issues," said Mary Rollins, Discovery Education vice president. "The Find Your Balance Challenge is a fantastic example of how educators can give students the opportunity to extend what they learn in school beyond the walls of their classrooms and into their everyday lives."
The school plans to use the $30,000 worth of Sports Authority merchandise toward new playground equipment. They will also receive an Ultimate Energy Balance Party on May 30, 2012, featuring nutritious snacks and field events and a visit from Nutrition and Physical Education experts.
The two runners-up from Green Fields Country Day in Tucson, Ariz., and St. Philip the Apostle in Addison, Ill., will each receive $10,000 toward Sports Authority merchandise.
The announcement comes in conjunction with the launch of a new-and-improved TogetherCounts.com, HWCF's public education campaign to encourage families to share meals and get active together.
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SOURCE Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation