October 13, 2016
Healthy Zone School Program

Celebrating Six Years of Empowering and Equipping North Texas Students to Live Healthier Lives

September 22, 2016 The Healthy Zone School Recognition Program® is celebrating its sixth year of empowering and equipping North Texas students to live healthier lives, curbing the critical trend toward childhood obesity. A partnership between United Way of Metropolitan Dallas and The Cooper Institute® developed to engage students to achieve better health and fitness, the program is expanding to 145 schools this year. Since 2011, the initiative has increased its reach to serve more than 90,000 North Texas students to date.

To celebrate, teachers from the 2016-2017 participating schools heard from Kenneth Cooper, MD, MPH, Founder and Chairman of the Cooper Institute, Dr. Laura DeFina, President and CEO of the Cooper Institute, and Jennifer Sampson, CEO and President of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas at the Dallas Arboretum on Thursday, September 22 at 8:30am. Coaches and educational staff were trained how to best implement the program at their schools, inspiring students to be leaders in improving their own health.

“The Healthy Zone School program is the start of a great success story in overcoming childhood obesity, one of the most pressing health issues of our time,” said Jennifer Sampson, President and CEO of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. “Together, we’re creating, sustaining and scaling healthy school environments to grow the next generation of healthier, high-achieving students.”

The Healthy Zone School program supplies schools in need with approximately $7,000 in funding for physical education equipment, health promotions and parent education tools to implement healthy practices on their campuses. The program also recognizes schools for trendsetting work in encouraging health and wellness, both on campus and in the surrounding community. Schools are selected through a competitive application process. The program is open to all public, private, and charter schools in Dallas, Rockwall, Collin, and southern Denton counties and Arlington ISD.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, currently one in three children is considered overweight or obese, a statistic that has nearly tripled in the last decade. Outcomes demonstrate the Healthy Zone School program is working to turn that tide. FitnessGram® results show 20% of students enrolled improved their body composition (BMI) and 34% of students improved their aerobic capacity during their first year.

“The obesity epidemic we have seen in children for the past two decades has fueled unprecedented medical problems, particularly adult onset diabetes,” says Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH, known as the ‘father of aerobics’ and founder of The Cooper Institute. “The Healthy Zone School program is proactively combatting the trend, providing kids with better access to physical activity to help improve academic performance and instill healthy lifelong habits.”

Schools from the following districts were selected for the 2016-2017 Healthy Zone School Recognition Program: Arlington ISD, Dallas ISD, DeSoto ISD, Frisco ISD, Garland ISD, Lewisville ISD, Lovejoy ISD, McKinney ISD, Mesquite ISD, Plano ISD, Richardson ISD and Rockwall ISD.