Students in 80 Tennessee elementary schools will begin learning about their bodies and how to keep them healthy this school year from characters with names like Pepto, the stomach and Windy, the lungs.
The three-year collaboration between the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation and the state Office of Coordinated School Health will implement The OrganWise Guys program in 180 schools by 2014 to help combat childhood obesity. The OrganWise Guys is a comprehensive, evidence-based preschool and elementary school curriculum built around a group of engaging characters that personify the major organs of the body to teach children and adults about the importance of eating well and being physically active.
“Characters like Hardy Heart and Peter Pancreas teach students to make choices that will keep their own organs healthy,” said Calvin Anderson, BlueCross’ senior vice president of corporate affairs and executive director of the Foundation. “The OrganWise Guys is a proven program for teaching children valuable lifelong health habits that they can easily integrate into their daily routines.”
About one third of children in America are considered obese or overweight. The cast of The OrganWise Guys characters empower children, as young as three years old, as well as adults, to be “healthy and smart from the inside out” by teaching them what they can do to stay healthy. Their motto is, “We love who we live in, so please take care of us!”
The Foundation is funding the program through a three-year grant totaling $755,000. The Office of Coordinated School Health has chosen the participating schools, based on need, location and availability of staff/resources. The OrganWise Guys grant expands the Foundation’s Shape the State program, begun in 2011, that last year brought a nationally acclaimed physical education curriculum into 20 Tennessee middle schools.