Calvert City and East Calloway elementary schools are the seventh and eighth area schools to win the $16,500 grant from Baptist Health for indoor and outdoor fitness equipment, teacher training and curriculum materials. Paducah's McNabb Elementary and Graves County's Central Elementary were awarded the program in 2007; Lone Oak Elementary, 2009; Concord Elementary, 2011; Clark Elementary, 2012; and Benton Elementary in 2013.
East Calloway Principal Kathy Crouch said the school is excited to partner with Baptist Health and Project Fit America.
"It will allow our school the opportunity to enhance the physical education program by providing equipment for students to extend their personal fitness abilities," Crouch said. "We believe as educators it is our responsibility to help our young population begin healthy lifestyles that will follow them into adulthood."
William A. Brown, Baptist Health Paducah president, said the program exemplifies the hospital's focus on health, especially in today's culture when obesity and its related conditions, such as diabetes, are among the area's greatest health risks.
"Since 1953, Baptist has built a foundation for good health in our community," Brown said. "Today Baptist Health reiterates that dedication to community education and disease prevention with the expansion of Project Fit America to help children build good lifelong habits for healthy lifestyles."
Calvert City Principal Todd Anderson said the grant will benefit the entire community. "Project Fit America will be a huge benefit to the students of Calvert City Elementary School, as well as our whole community," Anderson said. "Our playground is used daily by community families, so the equipment will benefit the community at large."
Last year's recipient, Benton Elementary, has already seen an improvement in its students' fitness levels. Tests show Benton students had a 27 percent increase in cardiovascular endurance, 18 percent increase in upper body strength, 12 percent increase in abdominal strength and a 38 percent increase in students who could perform pull-ups.
"Since receiving the Project Fit America grant from Baptist Health, many of our students have become more interested in improving their fitness levels," said Kim Crowell, Benton physical education teacher. "The program plays a huge part in trying to achieve an acceptable level of fitness for each student."
Baptist Health Paducah is a regional medical and referral center, serving about 200,000 patients a year from four states. With more than 1,700 employees and 240 physicians, it offers a full range of services, including cardiac and cancer care, diagnostic imaging, women's and children's services, surgery, emergency treatment, rehabilitation and more. It opened in 1953 as Western Baptist Hospital and recently changed its name, along with other facilities in Baptist Health, one of the largest not-for-profit healthcare systems in Kentucky. For information, see BaptistHealthPaducah.com.
Project Fit America is a national nonprofit organization that creates sustainable and innovative broad based fitness programs in schools. PFA programming includes state-of-the-art outdoor fitness equipment specifically designed to address the deficit areas where children fail fitness tests; indoor fitness equipment; a dynamic curriculum with games, activities and challenges; on-site teacher training and in-class instruction on subjects such as smoking intervention, nutrition and understanding your body. PFA is in its 24th year of working with schools in nearly 900 schools in over 300 cities in 45 states. Schools report increased motivation, participation and physical improvements in their students, along with parents and faculty becoming more involved in choosing fitness activities over sedentary lifestyle habits.For more information, visit http://www.projectfitamerica.org.
Information provided by Angie Kinsey
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