BaumGartnerBaptist Hospital President Michael BaumgartnerMADISONVILLE, Ky. (4/29/14 ) — Baptist Health Madisonville has announced almost $50,000 in grants available for three area elementary schools to promote health and fitness.

A Project Fit America grant will be awarded to one school each in Christian, Hopkins and Muhlenberg counties. Each grant will provide teacher training and curriculum resources over two years, as well as indoor and outdoor fitness equipment.

“We are excited to partner with our schools to carry out our mission of enhancing the health of the communities we are privileged to serve,” said hospital president Michael Baumgartner.

With Kentucky ranked 49th of 50 states in several studies for unhealthy factors, such as obesity and smoking, Baptist Health Madisonville and sister hospitals across Kentucky are focused on promoting good health.

“There’s no better place to start than in our elementary schools to influence children to make lifelong choices for good health,” Baumgartner said. “We especially like Project Fit America because it offers more than a playground; it teaches children to make fitness part of their lifestyle by forming good habits to last long beyond the two-year grant.”

The fitness program is aimed at reducing childhood obesity. Also, it encourages partner schools to make the fitness playgrounds available to their communities in off hours, so families can use them to get in shape.

Project Fit America is national, non-profit public charity dedicated to getting kids fit since 1990. It has contacted each school in the three-county area to determine interest. School grant applications will be accepted through May, with winners expected to be announced in June for a fall 2014 launch.

The three schools will bring the total to 15 across Kentucky sponsored by Baptist Health, including seven in the Purchase area where Baptist Health Paducah started the program in 2007. Schools are chosen by Project Fit America, based on their commitment to fitness.

Stacey Cook, executive director of Project Fit America, said Baptist Health is the exclusive flagship sponsor for Kentucky. “It is a delight to work with a corporate sponsor so passionate about our youth’s fitness and devoted to their health,” she said.

In its 23 years, Project Fit America has implemented the program in 870 schools in 300 cities in 43 states.

About Baptist Health Madisonville

Baptist Health Madisonville is part of the Baptist Health family of hospitals and physicians, one of the largest not-for-profit healthcare systems in Kentucky. Baptist Health Madisonville proudly serves western Kentucky residents with eight locations to meet the needs of Kentuckians close to home. As an integrated health provider, it includes 100 primary care and specialist physicians, a 410-bed hospital with a state-of-the-art 20-bed Critical Care Unit and 10-bed Observation Unit, an Education and Research Division with a Family Medicine Residency, award-winning Women’s Health, advanced Cancer Care and a progressive Heart & Vascular Center. Guided by a values-based culture to deliver clinical and service excellence consistently, Baptist Health Madisonville strives for excellent care, every time. For more information, please visit

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