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Sanford Health, WebMD And Discovery Education Launch Dynamic Stem Initiative To Promote Children's Health And Prevent Childhood Obesity

SILVER SPRING, Md., Sept. 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Sanford Health, WebMD and Discovery Education announce today the launch of fit 4 the classroom, a unique program for elementary educators, students and their families to encourage healthier food choices and more physical activity among children. Supported with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) based learning materials for teachers, the program connects balanced eating and activity with sleep and a healthy emotional life for a more holistic approach to wellness. 

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120925/PH79777LOGO-a)(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120925/PH79777LOGO-b)(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120925/PH79777LOGO-c)

According to recent reports by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. From 2009 to 2010, almost 17 percent of children were reported obese. Educators and schools can play a key role in preventing childhood obesity by providing an environment where children can develop the good habits of a healthy and active lifestyle. fit 4 the classroom is designed to give educators the resources they need to create that healthy environment while also meeting STEM Common Core Standards. 

Rooted in the four pillars of fit – mood, move, food and recharge – fit 4 the classroom helps promote healthy habits among students through dynamic, up-to-date cross-curricular lesson plans that span across STEM subjects and videos aligned to national education standards. The lesson plans reinforce the interconnectivity of the four pillars and encourage insightful conversations between educators, students and their families, covering topics such as the effect of music on mood, the benefits of stretching, understanding how much sugar they consume, and how sleep affects the body and mind. 

"We are excited about our partnership with Discovery Education on fit 4 the classroom," said Dave Link, Senior Executive Vice President of Sanford Health. "We believe teachers play such an important role to educate, motivate and inspire children to live a balanced, healthy lifestyle. With the engaging and helpful fit 4 the classroom resources, we hope to make it easier for educators to promote healthy choices that lead to lifelong healthy habits and behaviors in children and families."

"As the leading source of health information for consumers and professionals and a free source of trusted information on children's health and wellness, WebMD is proud to collaborate with Discovery Education and Sanford Health to support teachers and help families make healthy choices," said Dr. Hansa Bhargava, WebMD's expert pediatrician medical editor for pediatrics. "Children need a balanced lifestyle based on a holistic approach that considers food and exercise and also incorporates the need for rest so that kids have the energy to move and eat right."

"Discovery Education is pleased to partner with Sanford Health and WebMD to bring the fit 4 the classroom lesson plans and videos to schools nationwide," said Mary Rollins, Discovery Education vice president. "We know that educators play an integral role in providing students with practical knowledge that extends beyond the classroom and into their everyday lives. The resources available through this program can help students become stakeholders in their own health and empower educators and families to encourage healthy habits."

The partnership also includes a national sweepstakes for elementary school teachers, awarding one grand prize winner a school assembly, a $5,000 prize and $5,000 in funding for the teacher's school to extend programs that benefit student health and wellness education.  Second and third place winners will each be awarded a $1,000 prize and $1,000 in funding for their school. Homeschool teachers can use the school funding toward a local non-profit. The deadline for entries is Feb. 14, 2013.

For more information, visit fit4theclassroom.com.

About Sanford HealthSanford Health is an integrated health system headquartered in the Dakotas and is now the largest, rural, not-for-profit health care system in the nation with locations in 126 communities in seven states. In addition, Sanford Health is in the process of developing international clinics in Ireland, Ghana, Israel and Mexico. Sanford Health includes 35 hospitals, 140 clinic locations and nearly 1,200 physicians in 70 specialty areas of medicine. With more than 25,000 employees, Sanford Health is the largest employer in North and South Dakota. The system is experiencing dynamic growth and development in conjunction with Denny Sanford's nearly $700 million in gifts, the largest ever to a health care organization in America. These gifts are making possible the implementation of the several initiatives including global children's clinics, multiple research centers and finding a cure for type 1 diabetes and breast cancer. For more information, please visit sanfordhealth.org.

About WebMDWebMD Health Corp. (Nasdaq: WBMD) is the leading provider of health information services, serving consumers, physicians, healthcare professionals, employers, and health plans through its public and private online portals, mobile platforms and health-focused publications. The WebMD Health Network includes WebMD Health, Medscape, MedicineNet, emedicineHealth, RxList, theheart.org and Medscape Education.   

About Discovery EducationDiscovery Education transforms classrooms, empowers teachers and captivates students by providing high quality, dynamic, digital content for grades K-12 and community colleges. Powered by Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the number one nonfiction media company in the world, Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital media, professional development, assessment tools and a passionate educator network to support districts in accelerating student achievement. Discovery Education services like Discovery Education streaming, Discovery Education Techbook and Discovery Education Higher Ed, are in more than half of all US schools and 35 countries around the world.  Explore the future of education at www.discoveryeducation.com.

SOURCE Discovery Education

Copyright 2011 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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