Tag Archives: Eat Smart Move More

Are Our Students As Active As They Think They Are?

We have a new glimpse into the answer to this question thanks to a data collection project that has been taking place all over the state, including right here in Chatham County.  As a part of being awarded an Eat Smart, Move More Community Grant to increase student physical activity, three Chatham County schools are participating in research to measure the impact of the grant and the projects it makes possible. Click here to see what this research project has discovered so far!


Three Schools On Their Way To Healthy Change

Three Chatham County schools have spent the past year planning different ways to get their students more physically active, and their planning is about to pay off. Bonlee, Horton Middle, and Moncure schools will be building some exciting new projects on their campuses this spring with the help of an Eat Smart Move More grant from the State of North Carolina. Click to read more about these projects!


Schools and Worksite Wellness

Sure and begorrah here they come!The Chatham County Public Health Department secured an Eat Smart Move More community grant to increase opportunities for physical activity in three schools in Chatham County.  A big part of this effort will go toward supporting student wellness directly, but each school will also plan programs to help their staff stay active and healthy.

Supporting wellness in the workplace is increasingly being recognized as an important way to boost morale and productivity among employees and reduce absenteeism and healthcare costs. ( See: http://www.cdc.gov/workplacehealthpromotion/businesscase/index.html) In a school setting, staff wellness programs have the added benefit of providing children with healthy active role models. Students can be inspired to be more active when surrounded by active teachers.

Chatham County Schools currently has free access to an online planning tool to help schools establish high quality, sustainable, staff wellness programs. Many schools are also part of a pilot program for an online tool that lets staff track their physical activity and issue challenges to each other to motivate more movement. For the second year in a row, school staff will also be encouraged to form teams and walk or run Active Chatham’s 5K Reindeer Run in Pittsboro on December 10th. (More details about the race coming soon!)

Over the past few years, many of our schools have supported staff wellness through fitness and healthy eating challenges, convenient after-school aerobics and yoga classes, and stress reduction workshops.  This school year, stay tuned for updates as schools build on their past successes and develop innovative new ways to support the wellbeing of their staff and students.


Chatham County schools get moving!

Healthy Schools Awareness DayChatham County Public Health Department (CCPHD) and Chatham County Schools have teamed up to help Chatham County youth get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity each day. With the help of an Eat Smart Move More grant, Bonlee School, Horton Middle School, and Moncure School will be making healthy changes to encourage their students to be more physically active.  Over this past school year, wellness teams at each of the schools have been working with Ellie Morris, Public Health Educator for the CCPHD, to create a plan to make it easier for youth to meet the 60 minutes a day goal.  Each school will receive a small grant next school year to help implement their plan.

The changes that the schools are planning will “…make students, staff, and parents more aware of how to make fitness a part of the everyday norm.” This is the goal of the wellness team at Moncure School which has had lots of ideas for how to use these grant funds and is currently deciding which approach will best benefit the whole school community.

Increasing opportunities for physical activity for students, as well as for their adult role-models and care-givers, is also an important consideration at Bonlee School. As Principal Daniel Haithcox said of the project, “We are planning to build a walking course at our school that is both accessible to students during the school day as well as to students and their families after school hours…By giving the community a chance to participate and reinforce healthier lifestyle habits, we feel our students will benefit more.”

At Horton Middle School, the principal and wellness team are also focused on a change to the school grounds that will increase students’ opportunities to be active. They plan to develop part of their campus into a sports field that will hopefully serve the school’s soccer teams as well as provide another outdoor play area for use by groups during recess, PE class, and after school.

With all of these plans in the works, these are exciting times for school wellness! If you’d like to get involved, please contact the principal at your community’s school or Ellie Morris at elizabeth.morris@chathamnc.org or 545-8514.


Grant awarded to support physical activity in Chatham County Schools

Hopscotch by Jan Tik

This June, the Chatham County Public Health Department (CCPHD) was awarded a grant from North Carolina’s Eat Smart Move More Community grant program to increase youth physical activity in the county. With this funding, the School Health Liaison, Ellie Morris, and other staff members from the Community Health Promotion and Advocacy Division of the CCPHD will work with the non-profit organization, Be Active North Carolina and three Chatham County Schools, Moncure School, Bonlee School and Horton Middle School. The partners will implement Be Active North Carolina’s Just Push Play Program.

This is an exciting opportunity that will support these schools in making innovative and sustainable changes to increase their students’ physical activity.  Through the Just Push Play program, schools will form wellness teams to assess their current capacity to promote physical activity and will plan for healthy change.  The teams will work toward physical changes to their schools that encourage exercise and active play (for example, building a walking path, or painting a hopscotch board to encourage active recess) as well as program and policy changes.  Each school will receive a mini-grant to make these changes a reality. 

The implementation of Just Push Play at Moncure, Bonlee and Horton schools fits nicely into the array of programs and initiatives already in place in the county.  Chatham County’s Team Fit has been helping to organize staff wellness programs with schools throughout the county (see our post on the successful partnership between Bennett School and Team Fit at http://www.chathampublichealth.com/programs/team-fit-helps-bennett-school-get-fit/) and many schools have taken the initiative to offer staff wellness opportunities on their own, including fitness competitions and free fitness classes.

With new interest and new programs springing up all around the county, the state, and the nation, this is an exciting time for school health. Chatham County has great partnerships in place to support this expanding focus—the School Health Liaison and other staff from the Chatham County Public Health Department and other community organizations will continue to work with Chatham County Schools and with Chatham County’s School Health Advisory Council to ensure that our schools are health-promoting places to learn, work, and play.  

To learn more about school-based health promotion, please contact Ellie Morris, School Health Liaison with the Chatham County Public Health Department, at 919-545-8514 or elizabeth.morris@chathamnc.org.