University of Pittsburgh
March 8, 2011

Schools on the Move Program to Award Grants to Area Schools for Innovative Health and Fitness Programs

Pitt’s John Jakicic oversees program, which is part of America on the Move in Pittsburgh
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—Seven area elementary and middle schools have been awarded a total of $30,000 to be divided among them for the implementation of innovative health and fitness programs for their students through the Schools on the Move program, a spin-off of America on the Move in Pittsburgh. Funding for the implementation of the programs has been provided by Pitt, UPMC Health Plan, HJ Heinz Company, and Del Monte as part of their sponsorship of America on the Move in Pittsburgh. 

America on the Move’s mission is to “improve health and quality of life by promoting healthful eating and active living among individuals, families, communities, and society.” John Jakicic—chair and professor in the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Health and Physical Activity and director of Pitt’s Physical Activity and Weight Management Research Center—is the organizer of America on the Move in Pittsburgh. 

The Schools on the Move initiative is aimed at demonstrating the importance of a healthy and active lifestyle to young children. Following is the list of schools being honored and a brief explanation of their programs. Students will undergo health evaluations before and after completing each program. 

  • Peebles Elementary School, North Allegheny School District—“After School Biking Program.” Beginning this month, students are using bikes to enhance their current Aerobic Fitness Unit.
  • Pine-Richland Middle School, Pine-Richland School District—“Target Your Heart Program.” This program introduces a specific health-focus area each month for six months. Newsletters to parents and teachers as well as an interactive discussion board for teachers and students will complement each month’s focus area.
  • Central Elementary School, Elizabeth Forward School District—“SPARK to Arts Program.” Students will engage in activities that combine physical activity and art, such as a walking tour of the Strip District.
  • Fort Allen Elementary School, Hempfield Area School District—“Walking Club and Go Packs Program.” For 30 minutes at the beginning of each school day, students will use QuikPulse Watches to monitor their pulses; they also will log the number of steps they take addition to morning walks, Go Packs—portable activity packs that describe at-home fitness activities students can engage in—will be available for check out.
  • Boyce Middle School, Upper St. Clair School District—“The Spooner Board Program.” Spooner Boards are balance boards that promote core fitness, muscular strength, and cardiovascular endurance. Students will be able to use the boards inside and outdoors.
  • Freedom Area Middle School, Freedom Area School District—“Walking Across America Challenge.” Students, faculty, staff and families will use pedometers to track steps. Classes will focus on topics related to walking across the country. For example, in geography, students will chart a course to walk across the United States.
  • Crafton Elementary, Carlynton School District—“Step It Up” Challenge. Three hundred pedometers were purchased to promote daily walking. Class and individuals’ weekly averages will be calculated, and mathematics lessons will employ the charts in their coursework. 

Twenty additional schools have committed to involving faculty and staff in programs to improve their health and serve as role models for their students. A winner will be chosen and receive a grant to implement a health program in that school. 

The University of Pittsburgh will host a workshop April 15 for school district personnel on how to implement these proposed innovative programs into their schools. 

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3/8/11/tmw/lks/jdh

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