REDWOOD CITY, CA (PRWEB) October 31, 2012
Nearly one in three children and teens in the United States is obese or overweight. In response to the epidemic, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation – founded by the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation – established its Healthy Schools Program in 2006 to help schools develop and implement policies and practices to promote healthy eating and increase physical activity.
The Healthy Schools Program is committed to providing access to the best available resources to help support schools’ efforts in developing healthier environments. Because there is often not sufficient funding for schools to pay for new resources, the Alliance strives to provide only free and low cost resources in the database. In fact, 90 percent of all resources in the Healthy Schools Program Resource Database (located at HealthierGeneration.org) are available at no cost and the remainder is offered at a low cost. All resources are vetted by American Heart Association science and medicine advisors for accuracy, the best available scientific information and best practice, so individuals can be confident that any resource they wish to implement in their schools is reputable.
One such resource is Zamzee, a pocket-sized activity meter that connects to a motivational game-based website. To earn rewards, kids wear the Zamzee meter, a three-axis accelerometer specially calibrated to record short bursts of movement as well as vigorous activity. Physical activity recorded by the Zamzee meter powers a teen’s online account at http://www.zamzee.com.
Data from a scientific study sponsored by HopeLab and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation showed that Zamzee increased physical activity levels in kids by 59% on average over a six-month period – the equivalent of an extra 45 minutes of non-stop pushups each week. This research also showed that using Zamzee reduced biological risk factors for heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
“I use Zamzee for fitness assessment in physical education, and the kids love it,” said Michel Karas, a middle-school PE teacher in Cupertino, California. “Using technology to motivate kids to move more, in class and at home with their family, has been fun and effective. We're having a blast with Zamzee because it becomes a truly healthy habit.”
“The Alliance's decision validates for educators and parents that Zamzee is an effective tool for inspiring physical activity to improve the health of young people,” said Lance Henderson, CEO of Zamzee.
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program takes a comprehensive approach to helping schools create healthier environments by working with them to improve access to healthier foods; increase physical activity opportunities before, during and after school; enhance nutrition education; and establish school employee wellness programs. Support is tailored so that every school creates its own local approach that matches the specific needs of its community.
Schools participating in the Healthy Schools Program are eligible to earn bronze, silver or gold awards based on their range of healthy eating and physical activity programs and policies. The rigorous program criteria – known as the Healthy Schools Program Best Practice Framework – were developed in consultation with a panel of experts, including representatives from the American Heart Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, RWJF and others.
Any school in the United States can enroll in the Healthy Schools Program and receive assistance and support at no cost to create a healthier environment. Additionally, any individual who cares about helping a school in his or her community become a healthier place may join the Healthy Schools Program for immediate access to tips and tools to support a healthier school. Find out more at HealthierGeneration.org.
About the Alliance for a Healthier Generation
The American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation joined forces in May of 2005 to create a healthier generation by addressing one of the nation’s leading public health threats – childhood obesity. The goal of the Alliance is to reduce the nationwide prevalence of childhood obesity by 2015, and to empower kids nationwide to make healthy lifestyle choices. The Alliance works to positively affect the places that can make a difference to a child’s health: homes, schools, restaurants, doctor’s offices and communities. For more information please visit: HealthierGeneration.org.
Zamzee is a social enterprise on a mission to help kids and families to be more physically active. The Zamzee meter and motivational website is the result of several years of research and design based on feedback from kids and families. The Zamzee meter is sold for $29.95; access to the Zamzee website is free of charge. Zamzee was established in 2010 by HopeLab, a nonprofit research organization that uses the power and appeal of technology to improve the health of kids. Initial research and development of Zamzee was conducted by HopeLab, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. For more information, please visit http://www.zamzee.com.