Regis awarded New Balance Foundation Grant For School-based Childhood Obesity Initiative
November 12th 2008
Boston, MA -
The New Balance Foundation has awarded a $100,000 grant to Regis College School of Nursing and Health Professions to establish a program at Mt. Saint Joseph Academy (MSJA) in Brighton to fight childhood obesity. The Get Fit, Get Balanced program will focus on promoting fitness and wellness among MSJA's students, many of whom experience the national challenge of weight control, diet and nutrition affecting American children and youth.
"Thanks to the New Balance Foundation's generosity, Get Fit, Get Balanced will bring together Regis College nurse practitioner faculty and nursing students, Regis College health and fitness faculty and students, and MSJA leaders in this new integrated effort, which expands upon an established history of collaboration between our two institutions," said Antoinette Hays, RN, PhD, Dean of the School of Nursing and Health Professions at Regis College.
"Get Fit, Get Balanced is closely aligned with the New Balance Foundation's core focus on the prevention of childhood obesity, as well as the Foundation's interest in education and athletics," said Anne Davis, managing trustee, New Balance Foundation. Mt. Saint Joseph Academy, where the program is to be based, is in Brighton, Massachusetts, home of New Balance's worldwide headquarters.
"As a graduate of Mt. St. Joseph Academy and a lifelong resident of Brighton, I am particularly pleased to see a partnership between New Balance and the excellent Regis College School of Nursing and Health Professions. This represents the best kind of local and regional community service for the benefit of our young people," said Regis College president, Mary Jane England, MD.
The target population for the proposed program is the community of 9-12 grade students enrolled at MSJA as of the project's proposed start date of Fall, 2008. As of January 31, 2008, 266 students were enrolled at MSJA. Of the 242 students for whom BMI (Body Mass Index) data are available, 40% are overweight or obese. These data were collected by faculty and students from the Regis College Nursing Program onsite at MSJA through the established School-based Health Services Program.
The Regis College School-based Health Services Program, which receives funding from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, provides nursing services to children attending four inner-city Boston/Cambridge area elementary, middle and high schools including Mount Saint Joseph Academy. In addition to providing much-needed support to school nurses, the School-based Health Services model also contributes to the education of nursing students while simultaneously serving an underserved population of inner city school children.
Key components of the Get Fit, Get Balanced program are individualized student health assessments and the development and implementation of individualized wellness plans, including nutritional modification, structured exercise plans, and wellness education.
Participation in the program will be made available to all students in the school. "At the beginning of the school year, students will have a baseline health assessment, which will include BMI assessment, blood pressure measurement, endurance testing, and nutrition assessment," explained Marybeth Lamb, Regis Director of Athletics, Health, and Fitness. Individualized wellness plans will be developed which may include exercise and/or nutritional programs.
Exercise programming will feature age-appropriate strength training, aerobic exercise (ss_Group and individual, including dance) and mind/body type classes such as yoga. In keeping with MSJA's health education curriculum and the Health and Wellness course taught to sophomores, Get Fit, Get Balanced will have a particular focus on engagement with this class, and track their progress through their senior year.
Another goal is to develop the infrastructure of the health and fitness program at MJSA through equipment and fitness space improvement, involvement of MSJA personnel with Regis faculty and students, and the promotion of a culture that is supportive of health and wellness.
Regis College is a Catholic co-educational community that prepares undergraduate, graduate and continuing education students for engagement and service in a changing world. Approximately 1,600 students are enrolled in 24 undergraduate majors, graduate degree programs in education, communication, leadership and service, health product regulation, public administration and nursing, and a doctorate in nursing practice. U.S. News and World Report ranks Regis in the top tier of universities with master's programs in the North. The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) lists Regis among benchmarking colleges for the quality of educational experience. Visit Regis on the Web at www.regiscollege.edu.
Mount Saint Joseph Academy, a Catholic High School for young women, provides a college preparatory education in a community of lived Christian values. Founded and sponsored by the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Boston, MSJA promotes academic excellence, cultivates respect for all people, fosters unity and reconciliation, and educates young women for compassionate leadership and service.
The New Balance Foundation is a charitable foundation established and funded by Boston-based New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc. The Foundation's mission is to support effective charitable organizations which perform humanitarian services for the betterment of our children and our local community. For more information, please visit www.newbalancefoundation.org.
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