Students with extra energy to burn during class at Adams Elementary School can pedal while they read on under-the-desk pedalers. Recess at Woodward Elementary School now includes a range of new outdoor games that combine cardiovascular workouts with conflict resolution. At both schools, levels of physical activity and awareness of healthy eating is rising. These are just some of the results of a five-year partnership, the Healthy Schools Healthy Communities project, which includes the St. Louis Public Schools, BJC’s School Youth Outreach Department and the SLPS Foundation. The project is funded by the Missouri Foundation for Health.
In May 2017, five participating schools made the list of America’s Healthiest Schools and were honored by the Alliance for Healthier Generations for their improvements in fitness levels and obesity prevention efforts. That work will just get stronger with more plans in the making. In June 2017, partners in the project broke ground for a new walking trail that will circle the Gateway Schools campus in the Carr Lane neighborhood and provide new fitness options for the whole neighborhood. “We know healthy students equal better learners,” notes the Ms. Leanne White, the Project Director, “And we are grateful for the hard work of our partners, families, and students in achieving these successes.”