Local Schools Get Grants To Get Moving

Tufts University gave out $1 million in grants to help fight childhood obesity.

Tufts Medical Center image via wikimedia commons

Tufts Medical Center image via wikimedia commons

The Active Schools Acceleration Project (ASAP), an initiative of ChildObesity180 at Tufts University, has awarded 1,000 schools across the country $1,000 each ($1 million total). ChildObesity180 is a Tufts program that develops plans to help fight the childhood obesity epidemic. Using an evidence-based approach, ChildObesity180, according to their mission statement, is “committed to reverse the trend of childhood obesity.” The grants are the latest component of a national plan to encourage schools to increase students’ opportunities for physical activity by implementing simple, low-cost programs.

In last year’s nationwide Innovation Challenge, ASAP searched for effective and scalable ways for schools to boost students’ physical activity, and identified three programs with great potential for easy replication and affordable implementation. The new grants will help kick-start one of these three models at each school:

  • The 100 Mile Club gives elementary school students a challenge: Run, jog, or walk 100 miles over the course of the school year.
  • CHALK/Just Move gets students moving right at their desks, with in-class physical activity.

First Lady Michelle Obama’s call for children to be more physically active is based on research showing physically active and fit children tend to have enhanced academic achievement. This is ChildObesity180 response to her call. “When kids have early, positive experiences with physical activity it sets a positive direction for life,” Mrs. Obama said. “Schools are a great place for children to boost their physical activity.”

Christina D. Economos PhD, a leading researcher of childhood obesity at Tufts University says that the 1,000 award-winning schools showed commitment to provide more physical activity for their students. “It is a pleasure for us to support their efforts,” she says. “Educators, parents, nurses, coaches, and children themselves are increasingly telling us that more opportunities for physical movement for children in school are needed.  We hope these ChildObesity180 ASAP $1000 grants to 1000 schools will help jump-start a much needed return of more physical activity for all our school children.”