In Georgia, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation is making it easier for kids to develop healthy habits. More than 1,100 schools serving over 905,000 students across the state have joined the Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program, creating healthier school environments for children to thrive.
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program is an evidence-based initiative that helps schools create and sustain environments where students can succeed. Schools participating in the program have access to school health experts, a resource database and sample wellness policies. Additionally, schools can develop specific action plans in the following areas to create a healthier school environment:
- School Health and Safety Policies and Environment
- Health Education
- Physical Education and Other Physical Activity Programs
- Nutrition Services
- Health Promotion for Staff
- Family and Community Involvement
The Alliance enlists the help of regional and local partners to create healthier schools. These partners, such as HealthMPowers in Georgia, receive specialized professional development training from Alliance staff, and gain access to the Alliance’s customized tools, resources and data that empower them to guide schools to improve physical activity and nutrition policies and practices.
“Our HealthMPowers educators have a great working relationship with Georgia schools, and we can leverage that strength to tie them into the Alliance's resources, including their school health experts and assessment tool,” said President of HealthMPowers Christi Kay.
Schools across Georgia and the nation are integrating sustainable initiatives into their school days by using the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Framework of Best Practices. Not only are schools impacting the health of their students, but the work is positively affecting academic outcomes.
“As a result of increasing physical activity minutes, schools participating in the Healthy Schools Program have seen a positive impact on student attendance, behavior issues and test scores across the state,” said Mike Stubbs, Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools program manager.
“Working with the Healthy Schools Program has been nothing less than a culture change for our community,” said Tom Adam, Sprout Springs School of Enrichment physical education teacher.
Another key component of the Healthy Schools Program is recognition and celebration. The National Healthy Schools Award, a prestigious achievement, celebrates the hard work of school communities in creating a healthier environment for their students. Schools that receive this award meet best practice criteria established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and outlined in the Healthy Schools Program Framework of Best Practice Criteria. Awards are granted at the Bronze, Silver and Gold levels. Award winning schools are recognized as America's Healthiest Schools.
Since 2007, 180 Georgia schools have been recognized with National Healthy Schools Awards for their outstanding efforts.
In addition to the Healthy Schools Program, every member of the Georgia State Health Plan whose children qualify also has access to the Healthier Generation Benefit program. The Benefit program was created through an unprecedented coalition of major health insurers, employers and national medical associations to offer health benefits to children and families for the prevention and treatment of childhood obesity. Eligible children have access to at least four follow-up visits with their primary care provider and four visits with a registered dietitian per year.
To learn more about The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, check out their website here!
To get started creating a healthier school environment, click here!