George Ward recognized for obesity prevention efforts

George Ward Elementary School in Mill Creek is one of 10 schools in Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia the Highmark Foundation has selected to receive recognition for enhancing and expanding physical activity and nutrition programs to prevent childhood obesity.

Each school will be presented with a $2,500 grant during the foundation’s conference, “No Time to Weight: Best Practices in Childhood Obesity Prevention” Sept. 24-25.

“It means a great deal to us to recognize and support schools that go above and beyond creating healthier school environments for students,” said Yvonne Cook, president, Highmark Foundation. “According to the Institute of Medicine, schools are on the front lines of the childhood obesity battle since children spend most of their time there. Each of these schools demonstrated their commitment to childhood obesity prevention for the health of the children, their families and local communities.”

According to a press release from the Pittsburgh-based Highmark Foundation, George Ward Elementary has demonstrated the importance of physical fitness in not only their school, but also in the community surrounding Mill Creek. Specifically, Luanna Moore, physical education instructor, has dedicated her many years of teaching to furthering the well-being of her students. She has done this by championing the efforts to build a playground and walking trail used by many. She did this by raising funds and soliciting grants where available to make these initiatives come to fruition.

The schools were selected based on specific criteria including the percentage of overweight and obese children in the district, which was provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, University of Wisconsin County Health Rankings and the U.S. Census Bureau. In addition to George Ward Elementary, the following schools will be recognized during the “No Time to Weight” conference: Avonworth Middle School, Allegheny County, Pa.; Claysville Elementary, Washington County, Pa.; Forest Hills Elementary, Cambria County, Pa.; George Junior Republic, Mercer County, Pa.; Lebanon School District, Lebanon County, Pa.; Lincoln Charter School, York County, Pa.; Serra Catholic High School, Allegheny County, Pa.; South Hanover Elementary, Dauphin County, Pa.; and Olive B. Loss Elementary, New Castle County, Del.