Walk With Walgreens And Alliance For A Healthier Generation Help Elementary Schools Incorporate Healthy Habits Into School Day Routines, Encourage Physical Activity

Students participating in a school challenge developed by the Walk with Walgreens program and Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a national non-profit focused on reducing the prevalence of childhood obesity, made great strides toward a healthier school day by helping participants add nearly 1,800 hours of walking to their schools’ daily routine over the course of the six-week program. Ten elementary schools and more than 6,000 students in Charlotte, N.C., and Tampa, Fla., participated in the initiative to help incorporate and encourage healthier habits.

The Walk with Walgreens School Challenge was designed to help encourage students and faculty to increase their physical activity and learn healthy habits. As part of the challenge, each school classroom was challenged with adding a minimum of 10 extra minutes of walking per day to the school day, outside of recess and physical education. Some examples of ways educators increased physical activity included walking school grounds for seed identification during science class and reciting multiplication facts while walking the gymnasium.

"We know that children need at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day," said Ginny Ehrlich, CEO of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. "We're proud to team up with Walgreens to offer more opportunities throughout the school day for kids to have fun while moving more. It's important these programs inspire lifelong healthy habits."

“Whether it’s walking more or simply exploring the school grounds and being more active, this program is an easy way to encourage physical activity, which is a great benefit to children during the school day,” said Bonnie Gordon, Walgreens director of cause marketing. “It demonstrates the value of healthy habits and the simple steps we’re helping people take to get, stay and live well.”

In 2010, the drugstore chain launched Walk with Walgreens, an online community and digital platform that allows members to log the steps they take and get rewards, in the form of weekly coupons, for use at Walgreens stores nationwide. Both programs help participants learn about the health benefits of walking and healthier habits.

More than 6,000 elementary students participated in the School Challenge at the following schools:

Charlotte Mecklenburg County (Charlotte)
Olde Providence Elementary Idlewild Elementary
McKee Road Elementary Elizabeth Traditional Elementary
Oaklawn Language Academy

Pinellas County (Tampa)
Belcher Elementary Highland Lakes Elementary
John M. Sexton Elementary School Skycrest Elementary
Curtis Fundamental Elementary

“Teachers and students have become so involved with this health challenge that we plan to continue to include an extra 10 minutes of walking in our students’ daily schedules,” said Dr. Patricia Smith, Idlewild Elementary physical education teacher. “This program has positively impacted the lives of everyone here.”

“In just six weeks, this challenge has changed the atmosphere and attitude toward health at our school," said Jennifer Velez, John. M. Sexton Elementary physical education teacher. “The Walk with Walgreens School Challenge has been a welcomed addition to our work with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.”

Each school that exceeded the minimum walking goal will receive a $1,000 grant from Walgreens to implement or enhance the school’s physical activity curriculum.

About Walgreens

As the nation's largest drugstore chain with fiscal 2012 sales of $72 billion, Walgreens (NYSE: WAG) (Nasdaq: WAG) ( www.walgreens.com) vision is to become America’s first choice for health and daily living. Each day, Walgreens provides more than 6 million customers the most convenient, multichannel access to consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice in communities across America. Walgreens scope of pharmacy services includes retail, specialty, infusion, medical facility and mail service, along with respiratory services. These services improve health outcomes and lower costs for payers including employers, managed care organizations, health systems, pharmacy benefit managers and the public sector. The company operates 8,030 drugstores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Take Care Health Systems is a Walgreens subsidiary that is the largest and most comprehensive manager of worksite health and wellness centers and in-store convenient care clinics, with more than 700 locations throughout the country.

About the Alliance for a Healthier Generation

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation works to address 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 to make healthy lifestyle choices. Founded in 2005 by the American Heart Association and William J. Clinton Foundation, the Alliance works to positively affect the places that can make a difference to a child’s health: homes, schools, doctor’s offices and communities. To learn more about the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, visit www.HealthierGeneration.org.

Copyright Business Wire 2010