I enjoy being a staff writer for 3BL Media/Justmeans on topics - Social Innovation, Social Enterprise and Social Entrepreneurs. When I am not writing for 3BL Media/Justmeans, I wear my other hat as owner of Serendipity PR. Over the years I have worked with high-profile, big, powerful brands and organisations within the public, not-for-profit and corporate sectors; and won awards from my industry...
Social Innovation: 2012 ING Run is Helping To Fight Against U.S. Childhood Obesity
ING U.S., a leading provider of international financial services, is helping American teachers combat childhood obesity through its social innovation '2012 ING Run for Something Better School Awards®' in partnership with the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NAPSE). Together, these two organisations are awarding grants to help thousands of children discover a love for running and for creating a healthier lifestyle. Fifty schools from 27 states across the U.S. will receive up to $2,500 in grant money to support an existing school-based running program or start a new one. The grants will help schools introduce students from kindergarten through to eighth grade to the benefits of running and making physical activity a top priority.
Research shows that running is a great physical activity for promoting good health and self-confidence. It qualifies as a "life sport", one where participants are likely to maintain over their life time. Running as a form of exercise helps to build strong bones, muscles, contributes to fitness and to personal goal-setting. Additionally, recent piece of social innovation research has shown students who are healthy and physically active are more likely to be motivated, attentive and successful academically.
The 2012 ING Run for Something Better School Awards will support an eight-week school-based running program that concludes with a running event in celebration of the students' achievements. This social innovation award of $1,000 is given immediately, with additional funds awarded based on the participation in the program. Schools can download unique running lesson plans developed by NASPE to help them. Rhonda Mims, President of the ING Foundation and head of the ING U.S. Office of Corporate Responsibility says, "Childhood obesity is an important social issue. We realise schools need additional resources to help fully engage their students in enjoying and leading healthy lifestyles. We are empowering children across the nation to take charge of their health."
More than 300 schools applied for the 2012 grants; a NASPE review board made up of physical education teachers and administrators reviewed all applications and selected this year's recipients. In 2011 more than 4,500 students ran a total of 136,754 miles, which is equivalent to running almost 53 times across the U.S.! The ING Run for Something Better grant is helping children achieve the minimum of 60 minutes of physical activity they need a day.
Childhood obesity is a serious U.S. public health problem and needs a new social innovation approach to address it. Today, nearly a third of youths are overweight or obese. That's more than 23 million children and teenagers. Preventing obesity during childhood is critical, as habits formed during youth frequently carry into adulthood; an obese 4-year-old has a 20% chance of becoming obese as an adult, and an obese teenager has up to an 80%chance of becoming an obese adult. If this epidemic is not reversed, the U.S. is in danger of raising the first generation of American children who will live sicker and die younger than the generations before them.
Photo Credit: Christina- thingaloudblogspot