TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Aug. 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A $1 million grant from the Walmart Foundation will allow the Institute for America's Health to expand its celebrated school-based anti-obesity program to reach 80 elementary schools in Atlanta, Chicago, Washington DC, and Alabama in the upcoming school year.
IAH's "Wellness, Academics & You" (WAY) program, currently offered in 12 states across the country, is designed to reduce and prevent childhood obesity and improve the nutritional outcomes and overall health of the students and their families.
"This partnership with the Walmart Foundation allows us to bring the WAY program to many under-served communities with at-risk youth," said IAH Executive Director Stuart Reese. "We are grateful to the Walmart Foundation for showing its concern and commitment to the students and families we serve."
"Teaching children at an early age about the benefits of healthy eating helps create positive lifestyle practices that will last well into the future," said Julie Gehrki, senior director of the Walmart Foundation. "We are proud to partner with IAH to provide young students with greater access to the essential resources that will help them live healthier lives."
IAH is a research-based institute whose central theme is "prevention first." The Institute has more than 15 years of experience in researching and implementing best practices, resources and programs to prevent and combat childhood obesity, with an emphasis on prevention models designed to address large-scale societal changes. IAH was an early leader in tobacco health education for students.
In recent years, medical and educational experts alike have applauded the success of WAY, an interactive, innovative, individualized and integrated program designed for elementary students (K-5). WAY integrates an interactive wellness program into the core classroom curriculum, while keeping the program aligned with curriculum requirements and state-educational standards. WAY embeds nutrition education and physical activity in an approach that motivates and assists students in maintaining and improving their health, preventing disease and reducing risky health-related behaviors (e.g., tobacco and substance abuse).
At the same time, WAY educates students about nutrition and provides them with health-literacy resources and critical thinking skills to help them become smart decision makers, leading to lifelong healthy habits. The program also supports healthy lifestyles outside the classroom by sponsoring school-based gardens, salad bars and other health projects. In the process, the messages of good health, critical thinking skills, and staying physically active trickle up into the family and the entire community.
Planning for IAH"s expansion of WAY in the upcoming school year will take place over the summer, and will culminate in a large kick-off event in each community at the beginning of the school year. To learn more or to get involved with WAY, visit www.healthy-america.org.
SOURCE Institute for America’s Health