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Press Release

Walmart Foundation Awards $1.29 Million Grant to IAH to Fund School-Based Healthy Lifestyle Initiative

PR Newswire

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Sept. 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A $1.29 million grant from the Walmart Foundation will allow the Institute for America's Health ("IAH") to expand its celebrated, proven-effective school-based anti-obesity program to reach 30 new elementary schools in Atlanta, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. and will also fund a statewide expansion of IAH's program in the state of Alabama. As a result of this investment IAH will be able to impact more than one million lives.

IAH is a ten-year-old nonprofit organization that is a national leader in the effort to fight obesity among America's youth.  IAH is the founder of the "WAY to a Healthier America" (WHA) initiative. IAH's tailored interventions for schools and communities have been developed in collaboration with some of the nation's leading experts in the areas of nutrition, physical activity, and wellness. The Institute's efforts have been recognized by Dr. David Katz of the Yale School of Public Health, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation (founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! Initiative, the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity, and the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care.

"We are extremely grateful to the Walmart Foundation for their continued support of our efforts to introduce nutrition education and physical activity to children across America," said Stuart Reese, IAH Executive Director.

In 2012, the Walmart Foundation provided $1 million dollars in funding to IAH to implement the WHA initiative in Atlanta, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and the state of Alabama. Those vital funds allowed IAH to launch its WAY (Wellness, Academics & You) programs in 56 schools in those markets. "The entire IAH team is grateful that the Foundation is expanding its investment. The Walmart Foundation truly believes in investing in America's future, and we cannot thank them enough for the support they are providing to America's at-risk and underserved youth through this effort," Mr. Reese added. 

IAH's WAY program (www.colorful-way.com) is designed to reduce and prevent childhood obesity and improve the nutritional outcomes and overall health of students and their families. WAY integrates an interactive, application-based, health and wellness program into the core classroom curriculum, while keeping the program aligned with curriculum requirements and state educational standards. WAY embeds nutrition education and physical activity in an approach that motivates and assists students in maintaining and improving their health, preventing disease, and reducing risky health-related behaviors (e.g., tobacco and substance abuse). Additionally, students become messengers and ambassadors of health and wellness and take home these healthy lifestyle messages to engage their entire family. This, in turn, will have a lasting and sustainable "trickle out" effect into the community.

As an integral part of this grant, the Walmart Foundation has dedicated a portion of their funding to be used for school gardens, salad bars, and other nutrition education resources.

"Child obesity is a major threat to the future of our country. This threat not only affects the health of our children today, but if not reversed it will have a lasting and negative impact on America's workforce, life expectancy, quality of life, and our national and state budgets," Stuart Reese said. "Our partnership with the Walmart Foundation has allowed us to greatly expand the scope and reach of our programming, especially in under-served communities."

Another component of  this program is IAH's national essay writing contest in which elementary students from across the country compete for an all expense paid trip to one of First Lady Obama's Let's Move! events.  Students who participate in the contest are challenged to write an essay in which they explain to the First Lady what they have learned in school about health, wellness, nutrition, physical activity, growing a garden or helping their family be healthier by being more physically active, and making healthy nutrition choices.

You can learn more about IAH at www.healthy-america.org.

Visit WHA's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WAYtoaHealthierAmerica.

SOURCE Institute for America's Health