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Elementary Schools are in the Zone


Three North Carolina elementary schools were honored by our friends at NC Prevention Partners last week for “reaching a high standard of excellence in student wellness and obesity prevention.”

Westfield, Shoals, and Copeland elementary schools in Surry County, N.C. each received a $1,000 Zone Health Award to support their fitness or wellness efforts. All three participate in the Zone Health School Obesity Prevention Program, which is designed to create healthier school environments across the state.

“NC Prevention Partners has been partnering with schools for over 10 years to establish sustainable wellness policies and programs that promote healthy nutrition and physical activity throughout the school day. We are so impressed and proud to recognize the accomplishments of these three schools in building a culture of wellness,” said Ingrid Morris, director at NC Prevention Partners and a Leader.

Copeland Elementary created a culture of wellness on campus by promoting a healthy food environment and creating more opportunities for physical activity during the school day. For example, the school implemented a “no junk food” policy for student rewards and celebrations. It also promotes physical activity through a video presentation called Play Anytime, which teachers use to lead students in three minutes of physical activity during the school day.

Copeland officials plan to use their prize money to purchase new playground equipment and take students on a field trip to a local community center.

NC Prevention Partners honored Shoals Elementary in part for their efforts to engage youth on wellness issues.  A student-run health advisory council provides input on school wellness policies, and all students complete healthy activity logs to track their wellness efforts.

The school also built a health wellness room that includes exercise equipment and interactive online games, and students and staff can earn rewards for using the room. Kids in grades three through five can even join an after-school fitness club. The school plans to use its $1,000 prize to purchase three active game systems that can be used in classrooms when the fitness room is occupied.

Engaging students also has been a priority at Westfield Elementary. The school’s “Eat the Best, Leave the Rest” campaign was a school-wide competition that saw students earning tickets for eating at least one fruit or vegetable at lunch. The class that earned the most tickets was given a field trip to the local recreation center.

The school also starts each day with a dance or other physical activity, and holds events such as a health fair to engage parents about wellness. School officials plan to use the $1,000 prize to build a fitness room similar to the one at Shoals Elementary.

NC Prevention Partners is a state and national leader in guiding schools, hospitals and workplaces to improve their culture of wellness by improving policies and environments that address tobacco use, physical inactivity, poor nutrition and obesity. Zone Health was developed by NC Prevention Partners with grant funding from GlaxoSmithKline.

Click here to connect with Ingrid Morris.