Baptist Health awards Project Fit America programs to 3 local schools
These three schools bring to 11 the total number of schools to receive Project Fit grants from Baptist Health Paducah. 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; Benton Elementary, 2013; and Calvert City Elementary and East Calloway Elementary, 2014.
Reidland Intermediate Principal Paula Grubbs said the new school, which will open its doors for the first time this fall for fourth and fifth grades, is excited to partner with Baptist Health and Project Fit America.
“This will provide a whole new approach to health and wellness for the students,” Grubbs said. “The curriculum is exciting and interactive, and the PE teacher can't wait to begin using it. The students will make use of the Project Fit equipment both within the physical education setting and during recess. We also hope to promote wellness in the community as the equipment is in a great location with access by the community.”
William A. Brown, Baptist Health Paducah president and West Region executive, 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.”
Morgan Elementary Principal Vicki Conyer said the grant will help the school fight childhood obesity and improve learning. “We know childhood obesity can lead to health problems such as high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes,” Conyer said. “We also know children learn better when they are healthy. Baptist Health and Project Fit America are perfect partners for helping Morgan Elementary improve our students’ health and thereby improve their academic achievement. We are very grateful and excited to work closely with both organizations in the upcoming years.”
Heath Elementary Principal Tim Adams echoed the need for tools that will help students academically and physically. “We appreciate the opportunity to enter into a partnership that will have a lasting impact on our students and community,” Adams said. “The Project Fit grant will assist us in continuing to promote health and wellness in our students and community, as well as continuing to enhance our physical fitness instruction for the 2015-2016 school years and beyond.”
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 (PFA) PFA 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.