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Highmark Foundation Extends Subsidy for Health eTools for Schools(R) through 2013
Date:9/2/2008

Award-winning online program helps schools better comply with federal and

state health requirements, and address serious student health issues

LANCASTER, Pa., Sept. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- For the first time in modern history, our children's life expectancy could be lower than our own. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that since the mid-seventies the prevalence of overweight and obesity has increased sharply for both adults and children. Since 1980, the percentage of children aged six to 11 who are at risk for being overweight has doubled, and the percentage of overweight adolescents aged 12 to 19 has tripled.

The Highmark Foundation announced today that through Highmark Healthy High 5, a $100 million, five-year children's health promotion initiative, it has extended its subsidy program allowing schools in 49 Pennsylvania counties to participate in the Highmark Healthy High 5 Health eTools for Schools program at no cost through August 31, 2013.

The Health eTools for Schools program is available to area public, private, parochial, and charter schools. Originally set to expire on September 1, 2009, the extended subsidy allows schools representing a student population of more than 400,000 students free access to this award-winning program, making it easier for students to eat healthier and become more physically active.

"We hope that as many schools as possible take advantage of the opportunity to participate in Health eTools for Schools through the Foundation subsidy," said Yvonne Cook, president of the Highmark Foundation. "By educating young people early in life about the benefits of healthy eating habits and an active lifestyle, those behaviors will stay with them, helping to assure they become healthier adults. That is why the Highmark Foundation sought to create a school-based program that provided much-needed resources to schools. The goal of Highmark Healthy High 5 is to make sure children have an opportunity to learn ways they can take action to be healthy and to positively influence others, including their parents."

InnerLink, which uses a collaborative approach to help schools reverse the current health crisis in their communities, was contracted by Highmark Foundation to develop Health eTools for Schools and provides technical support to schools who adopt the program. Recently honored with the 2007 Silver World Wide Web Health Award for the best online health information, this innovative solution includes online tools that help school nurses, health and physical educators, food service professionals, and administrators address the factors that can lead to childhood obesity in a coordinated and systemic way. For more information on the award, visit http://www.healthawards.com/wwwha/fw2007winners/hp_portal.htm.

The program allows schools to evaluate themselves against best practices, and enables them to prioritize and implement a plan through policy, practice, and curriculum. The Highmark Foundation funding helps reduce limitations schools face in acquiring resources, like Health eTools for Schools, to implement programs to help students make healthy choices.

"We are pleased by the vote of confidence that this contract extension implies. Since its launch in September 2006, Health eTools has been rapidly embraced across Pennsylvania and is presently helping more than 400,000 students in this region learn how to adopt healthy lifestyles for a lifetime," said Martha L. Harris, vice president of Coordinated School Health Solutions at InnerLink. "As individual students learn to become health literate, they inform their parents on ways to stay healthy, generating communities of wellness."

"I have been very impressed with the capabilities of Health eTools for Schools to help my district implement the goals and objectives of our wellness policy," said Greg Gray, wellness coordinator at Northern Lebanon School District. "The communication and information sharing tools in Health eTools enable our wellness team to collaborate on a daily basis. The school nurses use their eTools to capture and report BMI to all parents, using the state approved templates. The curriculum materials provided through Health eTools have enriched our nutrition and physical education programs."

For more information about how schools can register for the Highmark Healthy High 5 Health eTools for Schools program, visit http://www.healthetoolsforschools.org or call toll free (866) 522-5487.

About InnerLink, Inc.

Headquartered in Lancaster, PA, InnerLink creates innovative and sustainable health intervention programs for schools (K-12) that assist students to make good choices in health and safety. The company's mission is to empower individuals with knowledge and motivation to choose healthier, safer lifestyles through education, collaboration, data sharing, and community involvement. For more information, visit http://www.TheInnerLink.com

About the Highmark Foundation

The Highmark Foundation is an affiliate of Highmark Inc. and was created to support initiatives and programs aimed to improve community health. The Foundation is a charitable organization and a private foundation. The Foundation seeks to improve the health, well-being and quality of life for individuals who reside in the 49 Pennsylvania counties served by Highmark.

About Highmark Healthy High 5

Highmark Healthy High 5 is a five-year, $100 million children's health promotion initiative of the Highmark Foundation. The mission of the initiative is to improve the health of children and adolescents ages 6-18 by providing them with the tools and practices needed to make informed decisions about living healthier lives. Highmark Healthy High 5 addresses five critical children's health promotion issues - nutrition, physical activity, self- esteem, grieving, and bullying prevention - by raising awareness, changing behavior through grants and programs, and providing resources to parents, schools and communities served by the Highmark Foundation. Highmark Healthy High 5 is an initiative of the Highmark Foundation. For more information, visit http://www.highmarkhealthyhigh5.org.

Highmark Healthy High 5 Health eTools for Schools enrollment as of August 31, 2008:

Adams County: Bermudian Springs, Littlestown Area, Upper Adams

Allegheny County: Avonworth, Bethel Park, Bishop Leonard-St. Mary of the Mount, Brentwood Borough, Brookline Regional Catholic, Cardinal Wright Regional, Career Connections Charter School, Christ the Divine Teacher Catholic, Deer Lakes, Fox Chapel Area, Highlands, Holy Rosary, Holy Spirit Parish School, Mount Alvernia High School, Montour, Moon Area School District, Oakland Catholic High School, Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament, PA Learners Online Charter School, Penn Hills, Pine-Richland, Pittsburgh Public Schools, Plum Borough, Quaker Valley, Riverview, Sacred Heart School, Shadyside Academy School District, Shaler Area, Spectrum Charter, St. Agnes (West Mifflin), St. Agnes (Oakland), St. Bartholomew, St. Bonaventure, St. James, St. John Neumann Regional, St. Malachy, St. Mary's, St. Sylvester, West Mifflin Area

Beaver County: Beaver Area, Center Area, Rochester Area

Bedford County: Bedford Area, Tussey Mountain

Berks County: Boyertown Area, Brandywine Heights Area, Conrad Weiser, Governor Mifflin, Hamburg Area, John Paul II Center

Blair County: Altoona Area, Altoona-Johnstown Diocese, Bellwood Antis, Claysburg-Kimmel (Blair/Bedford), Spring Cove, Tyrone Area

Butler County: Slippery Rock Area

Cambria County: Central Cambria, Conemaugh Valley, Ferndale Area, Forest Hills, Greater Johnstown, Westmont Hilltop

Centre County: Bald Eagle Area, Bellefonte Area, Nittany Valley Charter School, Penns Valley Area, Young Scholars of Central PA Charter School

Crawford County: Crawford Central

Clarion County: Keystone, Union

Columbia County: Southern Columbia

Cumberland County: Capital Area IU 15, Mechanicsburg Area, Shippensburg, St. Joseph School

Dauphin County: Halifax, Harrisburg, Infinity Charter, Steelton Highspire

Erie County: City of Erie, Corry School District

Fayette County: Brownsville Area, Uniontown Area

Franklin County: Chambersburg School District

Fulton County: Central Fulton, Forbes Road, Southern Fulton

Greene County: Carmichaels Area, Central Greene, Jefferson Morgan

Huntingdon County: Juniata Valley, Mount Union Area, Southern Huntingdon County

Indiana County: Blairsville-Saltsburg, Marion Center Area

Juniata County: Juniata County

Lancaster County: Conestoga Valley, Elizabethtown Area, Hempfield, Lampeter-Strasburg, Lancaster Christian, School District of Lancaster, Solanco, Warwick

Lawrence County: Ellwood City Area, Holy Redeemer, Mohawk Area

Lebanon County: Annville-Cleona, Eastern Lebanon, Northern Lebanon, Palmyra Area

Lehigh County: Northern Lehigh, Northwestern Lehigh, Catasaqua

Mercer County: Sharpsville Area

Mifflin County: Mifflin County School District

Montour County: Danville Area

Northampton County: Bangor, Easton Area, Northampton Area, St. Jane Frances, Wilson Area

Northumberland County: Milton Area, Mount Carmel Area, Shamokin Area, Shikellamy

Perry County: Newport, West Perry

Potter County: Austin Area, Coudersport Area, Galeton Area, Northern Potter, Oswayo Valley

Schuylkill County: Academy of Blessed Virgin Mary, All Saints School, Blue Mountain, Mahanoy Area, Minersville Area, Pine Grove Area, Pottsville Area, Schuylkill Haven Area, Shenandoah Valley, St. Ambrose, St. Clair Area, St. Joseph Center for Special Learning, St. Stephen Regional

Union County: Lewisburg Area

Venango County: Franklin Area, Titusville Area

Washington County: California Area, Canon McMilan, Peters Township, St. Patrick's

Westmoreland County: Belle Vernon, Franklin Regional, Kiski Area, Mount Pleasant, New Kensington-Arnold, Penn Trafford

York County: Red Lion Area, School District of the City of York


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SOURCE InnerLink, Inc.
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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