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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

ts of physical activity, but also to increasingly engage in exercise during the school day."

Childhood obesity rates have tripled in the last 25 years. Overweight children face an increased risk of health problems as adults, including diabetes, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis and certain types of cancer.

Obesity is more than a health risk; it also contributes significantly to the cost of treating chronic diseases which are responsible for at least 70 percent of all health expenditures.  A 2009 study found obese Americans — those who are 30 or more pounds over a healthy weight — cost the nation an estimated $147 billion in weight-related medical bills in 2008, double what it was ten years prior.

The Highmark Foundation provided funding to Avonworth Middle School and is also providing funds for 11 other participating schools.

"We're very grateful for the financial support of the Highmark Foundation and the other organizations that have joined this important effort," said James.

For more information on the Active Schools Grant Program, visit the Department of Health online at www.health.state.pa.us.

Media contact: Holli Senior, 717-787-1783

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health

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