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Collaboration targets obesity, student health

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ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Combating childhood obesity and improving student health in 18 school districts in western North Carolina was the focus of a day-long training session Sept. 23.

At the session, over 90 participants from nonprofits and government looked at ways to keep students healthy through school-district policies and efforts at individual schools to provide healthier foods and increase physical activity.

Participants – including principals, classroom teachers, child-nutrition managers, health and physical-education teachers, and community members – also learned about a new assessment tool for obesity prevention, and how to use to tool for planning and tracking progress to improve student health.

NC Prevention Partners offers the tool, known as Zone Health, to schools on a full scholarship with grant support from GlaxoSmithKline Community Partnerships.

Teams from school districts and individual schools that achieve the top Zone Health recognition level are eligible to receive a $1,000 award to support their school wellness efforts.

Groups coordinating the training session included NC Prevention Partners; HC Center for Health & Wellness at the University of North Carolina at Asheville; Western North Carolina Healthy Kids; NC Healthy Schools; N.C. Department of Public Instruction; N.C. Division of Public Healthy; and Be Active – Appalachian Partnership.

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