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State Health, Education Leaders Hail Avonworth Middle School in Allegheny County for Boosting Physical Activity Among Students
Date:1/25/2010

PITTSBURGH, Jan. 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- During a visit today to Avonworth Middle School, Department of Health Secretary Everette James and Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak commended the school for its efforts to boost physical activity among students.

"One-third of all Pennsylvania children are overweight or obese, putting them at risk of a lifetime of health problems," said James. "Schools like Avonworth are making the health of children a top priority and fighting childhood obesity by increasing physical activity for students throughout the school day. These schools are proving that scheduling at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day is possible, and it improves student health and academic performance."

The middle school received one of 40 Active School grants awarded by the Department of Health through the federal Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant. Schools received a $5,000 grant from the department and an additional $10,000 from one of five supporting organizations. The program requires schools to assess all participating students and to implement evidence-based physical activities that meet federal guidelines.

Schools were selected for participation based on their commitment to provide a health and fitness curriculum that adds 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. According to a recent survey, only about 38 percent of the state's middle school students get that amount of activity.

"The connection between good health and academic achievement is well established in research," said Zahorchak. "Many schools are taking proactive steps to provide students with the opportunity not only to learn about the benefi
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health
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