Alliance for Healthier Generation

NEWBERRY COUNTY — Little Mountain Elementary School, Pomaria-Garmany Elementary School, Prosperity-Rikard Elementary School and Reuben Elementary School have been recognized as “America’s Healthiest Schools” by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation has been around since 2005, and they work to prevent children from having heart issues later in life, according to Megan Walcek, Marketing and Communications manager for Alliance for a Healthier Generation. She said they work with over 42,000 schools to implement polices and effect change to create healthier environment for students and staff.

All of America’s Healthiest Schools participate in Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program, one of the nation’s largest school-based childhood obesity prevention initiatives that fosters a comprehensive approach to health promotion driven by administrators, teachers, counselors, parents and the surrounding community. Research published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s journal, Preventing Chronic Disease, found that meaningful participation in Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program was linked to reductions in the prevalence of overweight and obesity among students in high-need schools.

“Schools have direct contact with more than 95 percent of our nation’s young people during some of the most critical years of their development,” said Holly Hunt, chief of the School Health Branch, in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. “This recognition shows how schools have worked to create an environment where children learn and practice healthy behaviors that can last a lifetime.”

The four Newberry County Schools are a part of a list of 355 schools from 23 states in the United States.

America’s Healthiest Schools — 77 percent of which are Title I schools that serve high-need student populations — receive Healthier Generation’s National Healthy Schools Award at the Bronze, Silver or Gold level, based on the number of best-practices they have implemented relating to children’s health. Healthier Generation’s team of school health experts evaluate schools based on their ability to serve healthier meals and snacks, get students moving more, offer high-quality health and physical education, and support staff wellness.

All of America’s Healthiest Schools:

• Meet or exceed federal nutrition standards for school meals and snacks.

• Offer breakfast daily.

• Incorporate physical activity before, during or after the school day.

• Implement district wellness policies and update progress annually.

• Involve parents and community members in decision-making.

All four Newberry County schools received the Bronze level award.

“We are thrilled to see another strong showing of dedicated schools that are taking steps to create healthier school environments that support children’s physical, social, and emotional health,” said Kathy Higgins, chief executive officer at the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. “More than a decade ago, we sought to help schools create a culture of health that puts the well-being of youth and educators front and center. We are blown away by the number of schools, especially those serving youth from underserved communities, that doubled down on their commitment to health and academic success. This year’s list is a continued testament to the nationwide movement for improving the social, emotional and physical health of current and future generations.”

Healthier Generation’s work with award-winning schools and is supported by the Assisi Foundation, The JPB Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, Mary Black Foundation, Missouri Foundation for Health, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Saint Luke’s Foundation of Cleveland, Ohio, Target Enterprise, Inc., and United Way of Greater Cleveland.