Georgia Shape, the Governor’s Childhood Obesity Initiative, is proud to announce that 26 schools have been awarded $104,000 in physical activity and nutrition grants for the 2016-2017 school year.
Presented at two levels, core grants (nutrition focused) for $3,000 each and enhanced grants (both nutrition and physical activity focused) for $5,000 each, the funding empowers schools to implement activities that promote lifelong healthy behaviors, many of which combat obesity and mitigate other chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
Collectively, these efforts are intended to improve the state’s health outcomes among youth as part of the Georgia School Health and Physical Education Act. The Georgia Shape grants also help schools meet nutritional guidelines outlined by the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HKFKA) and other federal laws that protect and advance student health.
“These grants will go a long way toward improving childhood fitness and nutrition,” said Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., commissioner, Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). “Teaching our children now about the importance of physical activity and the benefits of healthy eating are lessons that they will carry with them throughout their lives.”
Schools receive technical assistance from the Georgia Health Policy Center to ensure they maintain a sustainable program customized for the needs of their student body. Prior grant recipients have successfully utilized Georgia Shape’s grants to create school gardens, host cooking classes and taste tests led by local farmers, and launch a student task force dedicated to getting their peers moving in fun and engaging ways.
“Children spend a significant amount of their day at school,” said Kate Smith, Healthy Schools Program manager, Chronic Disease Prevention Section at DPH. “That’s why educational environments are an ideal place to offer age-appropriate nutrition and physical activity programs that teach healthy habits alongside existing classroom curriculum.”
Many of Georgia Shape’s public health interventions, including its school grantee program, are based on extensive research that demonstrates a positive connection between increased physical activity and improved student academic performance and behavior. The success of Georgia Shape’s work has incited increased interest among school leaders statewide, a trend that positively supports Georgia’s continued efforts to reduce its childhood obesity rate.
“It was exciting to see that we received double the number of applications from last year, making it a highly competitive grant opportunity,” said Kia Toodle, deputy director of Adolescent and School Health, Chronic Disease Prevention Section at DPH. “We are thrilled that more teachers and administrators are taking an interest in putting health and wellness at the center of their school environments.”
Georgia Shape would like to congratulate all of its 2016-2017 grantees:
- Beecher Hills Elementary School, Atlanta Public Schools, Atlanta
- Coastal Empire Montessori Charter School, Savannah-Chatham County Public School System, Savannah
- Dunbar Elementary School, Atlanta Public Schools, Atlanta
- Elkins Pointe Middle School, Fulton County School System, Roswell
- Fernbank Elementary School, DeKalb County School District, Atlanta
- Goodyear Elementary School, Glynn County School System, Brunswick
- James E. Bacon Elementary School, Wayne County School System, Jesup
- John Hope-Charles Walter Hill Elementary School, Atlanta Public Schools, Atlanta
- Lassiter High School, Cobb County School District, Marietta
- Lovejoy Middle School, Clayton County Public Schools, Lovejoy
- Margaret A. Fain Elementary School, Atlanta Public Schools, Atlanta
- Renaissance Middle School, Fulton County School System, Fairburn
- William Finch Elementary School, Atlanta Public Schools, Atlanta
Enhanced Grant Recipients:
- Campbell Elementary School, Fulton County School System, Fairburn
- Crabapple Crossing Elementary School, Fulton County School System, Milton
- Esther F. Garrison School of the Arts, Savannah
- Ithica Elementary School, Carroll County School System, Villa Rica
- Margaret Winn Holt Elementary School, Gwinnett County Public Schools, Lawrenceville
- Marietta High School, Marietta City School District, Marietta
- Mountain Park Elementary School, Fulton County School System, Roswell
- Newton County Theme School at Ficquett, Newton County School District, Covington
- Quitman Elementary School, Brooks County Schools, Quitman
- Sarah Mills Hodge Elementary School, Savannah-Chatham County Public School System, Savannah
- Tuskegee Airmen Global Academy, Atlanta Public Schools, Atlanta
- Walker Elementary School, Long County School System, Ludowici
- Woodland Middle School, Fulton County School System, East Point