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Casey-Westfield Awarded Project Fit America Grant

February 15, 2012 11:03 a.m.

Students at Casey-Westfield Jr. High School will have more opportunities to be active this fall with the addition of new outdoor and indoor fitness equipment designed to teach the importance of health and exercise.

Selected as Sarah Bush Lincoln’s Project Fit America recipient for the 2012-2013 school year, plans are underway to install the equipment and launch the fitness program at Casey-Westfield Jr. High School in the fall. It is the third area school to win a Project Fit America grant funded by Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Foundation. “We are so excited to have been chosen! We are looking forward to working with Sarah Bush Lincoln to improve the health and fitness of our students,” Casey-Westfield Jr. High Principal, Carol Wetherell, said.

Schools throughout East Central Illinois were invited to apply for the Project Fit America grant. Project Fit America provides physical fitness equipment along with a broad based exercise curriculum designed to increase physical activity and reduce obesity.

Project Fit America, a nationwide program recognized by the General Surgeon, is located in 730 schools in 40 states across America. Kansas, Illinois is the charter Project Fit America School for this region. Kansas received its fitness equipment and curriculum in the 2008-2009 school year, while Neoga Middle School received funding for the program in 2010-2011 school year.

Included in the Project Fit America program are activities to address student’s self-esteem, smoking intervention, fitness as fun and exercise among others. The goal for students is to take personal responsibility for their health. In addition, the program helps teachers diffuse restless behavior in children. Physical activity provided during the school day helps children to be more inclined to sit, listen and learn in the classroom. Schools receive support from Project Fit for two-years with training sessions offered on site.

“We know that by promoting healthy habits with our youth, we can make a lifelong difference in the health of our communities,” Suzanne Logue, SBL Healthy Communities Manager said. She added SBL wants to help the approximately 9,000 children in its service area who are classified as overweight or obese. For more information on Project Fit America, contact the SBL Healthy Communities office at (217) 258-2471.

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