Heart disease is the #1 cause of death, not just in the U.S., but in the world. Approximately two-thirds of children are not getting enough daily physical activity, and sugary beverages are replacing drinking water in kids’ diets. And, nearly one in every three American children is overweight or obese.
In the face of such sobering statistics, Dr. Tasha Guadalupe, GCPS’ director of Health and Physical Education, says she takes pride in the partnership between GCPS and a community partner focused on children’s health, the American Heart Association. “The health and wellness of our students is important to all of us,” she says.
The American Heart Association focuses on improving children’s health, one school at a time through their community service learning programs such as the Kids Heart Challenge, Hoops for Heart, The Great Replay and Drive for 5. Through these programs, our students support awareness of heart health, raise money for AHA, and keep physically fit themselves.
“This collaboration is crucial,” says Dr. Guadalupe. “The link between academic achievement and student health is well-researched, with healthy students missing fewer days, and physical activity linked to an increase in cognitive performance. These programs reinforce heart-healthy habits, teach children how to make healthier choices, empower students to give back to the community, and help save lives.”
Dr. Guadalupe notes that the partnership also benefits our schools by providing free lesson plans, equipment, funds for our PE departments, and development opportunities for teachers.
Congratulations to our top fundraisers for Jump Rope for Heart!
Duncan Creek ES
Freeman’s Mill ES
Fort Daniel ES
In the Kids Heart Challenge, students take on the physical challenge to jump rope, shoot baskets, even dance, in order to raise money through pledges. Schools that sponsor a challenge can earn grants toward playground equipment, another way to keep kids moving. During the 2017-18 school year, 49 Gwinnett schools participated in the fundraiser, ensuring that 43,200 students learned more about heart-healthy living. Participating schools earned $14,000 in equipment grants. Sixty schools are already signed up for the 2018-19 Challenge.