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Indiana schools earn national recognition, receive funding to support health and wellness in the classroom

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The American Heart Association awarded three Indiana elementary schools grants to incorporate nutrition education, physical health and emotional well-being into their schools. Awards ranged between $1,025 to $3,500. 

Brentwood Elementary School in Plainfield, Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic in Fort Wayne and Sugar Grove Elementary School in Greenwood were among the 180 schools recognized out of approximately 2,500 applications which spanned the U.S. 

“Every [school] across the country was invited to submit an application,” Jen Nanny, local youth market director for the American Heart Association” (AHA), told News 8. “What we were looking for were each school’s needs, how they would use the funds and which schools would benefit the most. We also wanted to award schools that submitted grants most in line with AHA’s mission.”

Grants were awarded to those who proposed implementing dance and obstacle courses into schools as well as other needs such as physical activity equipment, CPR training courses and water bottle filling stations. 

However, means to encourage and facilitate physical activity within schools topped the list, according to a press release. The Kids Heart Challenge and American Heart Challenge, both initiatives of the AHA and tied to the grant funding, are projects designed to make physical activity an integral part of school curriculums.

According to the U.S.Department of Health and Human Service only 20% of kids meet the physical recommendations which is 60 minutes of moderate physical activity.

News 8’s medical reporter, Dr. Mary Elizabeth Gillis, D.Ed., is a classically trained medical physiologist and biobehavioral research scientist. She has been a health, medical and science reporter for over 5 years. Her work has appeared in national media outlets. You can follow her on Instagram @reportergillis and on Facebook @DrMaryGillis.