Teachers and administrators from over 50 schools across North Texas gathered together in early September for the 2019 kickoff of the Healthy Zone Schools program. Hosted by The Cooper Institute in partnership with United Way of Greater Dallas, the event provided opportunities for learning and networking for school leaders committed to improving student fitness and nutrition for over 159,000 students in the Dallas area.
Dr. Laura DeFina, CEO and Chief Science Officer for The Cooper Institute, kicked off the assembly with a trip down memory lane leading to the present day updates on the new and improved Healthy Zone Schools Program. The updated version assists schools with specific activity packages that support physical activity, nutrition, staff wellness, community involvement, whole child health, and policy changes over a three-year period.
Attendees learned about cardiovascular prevention for adults from Dr. Nina Radford at the Cooper Clinic. Things really got exciting during the interactive Drumfit session, an exciting and fun way to engage the whole child in physical education.
In a FitnessGram research update by Andjelka Pavlovic, PhD, and Director of Youth Research at The Cooper Institute, educators saw how active Healthy Zone Schools have better fitness outcomes compared to schools without the program.
According to Dr. Roslind Blasingame-Buford and Danielle Mazzeo Ingold from the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, schools can showcase their efforts to build healthier school communities through annual site visits. These visits allow donors and prospective donors an opportunity to see how the Healthy Zone Schools program is implemented on a specific campus. During the visit, schools can demonstrate the implementation of brain breaks in the classroom, school gardens, cafeteria upgrades highlighting healthier options, playground enhancements, innovative physical education classes, and employee wellness activities.
Applications to become a 2020 HZS will close on February 1, 2020. If you would like to apply to become a Healthy Zone School please click here for more information