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Menino announces new physical fitness programs for BPS students

Posted by Jeremy C. Fox  October 9, 2012 03:34 PM

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ODonnell School students.jpg

(Jeremy C. Fox for Boston.com)

Physical education teacher Ivan DaSilva (at rear) led fourth-grade students in a demonstration of the Hugh Roe O’Donnell Elementary School’s physical education program during Tuesday’s ceremony.

Mayor Thomas M. Menino announced on Tuesday two new corporate sponsorships launching programs to increase physical activity and health education among Boston Public Schools students.

“It’s all about improving the lives of young people so they have a better chance of growing up to be healthy adults,” Menino said at a ceremony at the O’Donnell Elementary School in East Boston.

Partners HealthCare will donate $170,000 over two years to support 105 Wellness Champions in 100 public schools, who will lead efforts to increase physical activity throughout the school day.

Shaw’s supermarkets, companion chain Star Market, and the national Fuel Up to Play 60 program, which encourages children to be active at least 60 minutes each day, will work with the mayor’s Boston Moves for Health initiative and the Schools Department to create Workout Wednesdays.

Beginning Oct. 10, Shaw’s will host a school class at one of its stores each Wednesday and offer an outdoor activity followed by a “healthy eater” tour of the store led by dietician Jennifer Shea Rawn. Shaw’s will give each student a Healthy Eaters Free Fruit Card and a bag of healthy snacks

Menino also announced a Physical Education Challenge for Boston Public Schools from Oct. 15 to Nov. 9. During those four weeks, schools will compete for the most steps taken by students during physical education classes. A Physical Activity Challenge planned for Jan. 15 to Feb. 15 will challenge schools to log the most minutes of physical activity during the school day.

The new efforts are all part of Menino’s Boston Moves for Health initiative, which calls on city residents to collectively lose 1 million pounds and move 10 million miles by the end of this year.

“It can be really difficult to achieve healthy goals alone, but we’re a city of neighborhoods,” Menino said. “We all have a role to play in encouraging each other to get out and be active. Working together, we’re building community around community health, to make sure kids are healthy and strong.”

Menino joked with the children about making healthy choices at mealtime, especially breakfast.

“Eat those Doritos before you go to school? Ehh-ehh,” Menino teased. “A piece of fruit and cereal? Mmm-hmm. Right? Not sweetened cereal, either. The boring type.”

Email Jeremy C. Fox at jeremycfox@gmail.com.
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Menino at ODonnell School.jpg

(Jeremy C. Fox for Boston.com)

Mayor Thomas M. Menino addressed students at the Hugh Roe O’Donnell Elementary School in East Boston on Tuesday. Flanking Menino were, from left, Ronnie Sanders, director of community benefits programs for Partners HealthCare; Jill Carter, executive director of the Health and Wellness Department at Boston Public Schools; and Sura O’Mard, principal of the O’Donnell School.

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