The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) has launched a program encouraging Michigan schools to promote physical activity, healthy eating, and a tobacco-free lifestyle to students and staff. As part of the Michigan Health and Wellness 4 x 4 Initiative, the Michigan School Wellness Award program aims to recognize schools working to create healthier school environments.
“School environments are the perfect place to encourage the development of healthy habits and health-related skills for our youth,” said James K. Haveman, Director of the MDCH. “Schools are already supportive environments for learning. By weaving in healthy changes, we can greatly impact the health of our communities.”
In the past, MDCH recognized schools through the Healthy School Environment Recognition Program that were committed to making healthy changes. The Michigan Health and Wellness Education Workgroup, a workgroup within the Michigan Health and Wellness 4 x 4 Initiative, spearheaded the revision of this program and the creation of the new Michigan School Wellness Award program. Through this program, schools statewide are encouraged to create healthy school environments by establishing Coordinated School Health Teams, completing the Healthy School Action Tools, and implementing sustainable policy and environmental changes.
According to the 2011 Michigan Youth Risk Behavior results, only 19 percent of adolescents meet the minimum average daily goal for at least five servings of fruits and vegetables. Further, less than 50 percent of 9-12th graders are meeting the physical activity recommendations.
“Healthy students are better able to concentrate and learn,” said State Superintendent Mike Flanagan. “The School Wellness Award will recognize schools committed to increasing student achievement with a healthier school community.”
The MDCH, in collaboration with the Michigan Department of Education, United Dairy Industry of Michigan, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, and the Michigan Health and Wellness Education Workgroup, invite schools to apply for the award by April 7, 2014. Schools that are taking exemplary steps to improve the health of students and staff will be recognized this spring at a Michigan Learning Connection hosted by United Dairy industry of Michigan.
For more information about the School Wellness Award, or to apply online, visit http://mihealthtools.org/greatschools/
. For more information about the Michigan Health and Wellness 4 x 4 Initiative, visit www.michigan.gov/healthymichigan