Two Chattanooga area middle schools received grants from the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation’s Shape the State program. A total of 20 middle schools received grants throughout the state including Red Bank and Whitwell middle schools.
Valued at $10,000 each, the grants provide the nationally acclaimed SPARK physical education curriculum, teacher training and equipment for each recipient school as a way to revive physical education for students and teachers. In addition, each school will receive $1,000 to spend on PE, nutrition and wellness efforts. This is the fourth year of the program.
“With each passing year, interest in Shape the State grows,” said Calvin Anderson, BlueCross senior vice president of corporate affairs and executive director of BlueCross’ Tennessee Health Foundation. “We welcome these 20 new schools and appreciate their efforts to get kids excited about physical fitness and nutrition.”
Today, approximately 24 percent of children are overweight and another 18 percent are considered obese – placing then at a high risk for a variety of lasting health complications growing up. In Tennessee, about four out of 10 children are overweight or obese, according to the Tennessee Department of Health. The Shape the State grants continue BlueCross’ Tennessee Health Foundation’s practice of supporting efforts to fight childhood obesity in Tennessee.
This fall, faculty and staff from the Shape the State schools will gather for training from SPARK professionals on using the program with their students. In addition, they will receive complete SPARK curriculum materials, as well as accompanying exercise equipment.
SPARK was launched in 1989 after being developed by researchers at San Diego State University. Since then, its evidence-based curriculum has been used in public schools, YMCAs and other settings across the nation.
For the complete list of 2014 Shape the State grant winners visit the Shape the State website.