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—Indiana University Health has awarded 22 “IU Health Strong Schools” grants to elementary and middle schools across the state. This year, 36 schools submitted applications that proposed innovative or proven ways to improve the physical activity of students or increase the knowledge of healthy eating or access to healthy foods.

Indiana children aren’t getting enough exercise each day, with nearly a third of school children overweight or obese. It is important for children to get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity each day and eat a healthy diet. The IU Health Strong Schools grant was created in 2014 to help increase physical activity during the school day. The grant now addresses physical activity and nutrition in its programming.  

“The recipients of the Strong Schools grants presented creative and novel ways to get kids moving and eating healthy,” said Joyce Hertko, director of Community Outreach and Engagement at IU Health. “These programs will not only improve these children’s health but also how well they perform in the classroom. It’s important to teach healthy eating habits that will stick with students into adulthood.”

For the 2017-2018 school year, IU Health offered two levels of grant awards:

$1,500 to increase the number of physical activity minutes for students
$3,000 to increase the number of physical activity minutes and increase knowledge of healthy eating or access to healthy food for students

Elementary and middle schools located in any of the counties that house an IU Health hospital were eligible to apply for an IU Health Strong Schools grant. Recipients were chosen based on programs designed to have a meaningful and ongoing impact on creating opportunities for increased physical activity for a large number of students during the school day, increasing knowledge of healthy eating or access to healthy foods and the school’s commitment to improving the health and academic outcomes of the students. 

In addition to the grant funds, schools were able to request a new or renewed license for FitnessGram, a fitness assessment software, to help with the evaluation of their programs. The total amount of grant funds and FitnessGram software donated by IU Health is $61,938.00.

2017-2018 IU Health Strong School local recipients

$3,000 Grant:

Suncrest Elementary (Clinton)
Lafayette Sunnyside (Tippecanoe)
Frontier Elementary (White)
Roosevelt Middle (White)