HOUSTON (October 03, 2014)

WHAT: Elrod Elementary School hosts an Opening Day Kick-off and Fitness Celebration to announce its role as Harris County host and model school for Project Fit America, a national public charity dedicated to getting kids fit since 1990. The Project Fit program is co-sponsored by Marathon Oil Corporation and Memorial Hermann Health System.

WHEN: Friday, October 10, 2014, 1:30 p.m.

WHERE: Elrod Elementary School, 6320 Dumfries Drive, Houston, TX 77096

BACKGROUND:

Through the generosity of Marathon Oil Corporation, in partnership with Memorial Hermann Health Centers for Schools, Elrod Elementary is launching the Project Fit America (PFA) program on its campus. In 2012, Eugene Field Elementary implemented the Project Fit program through funding provided by the Summer National Senior Games and Memorial Hermann. Since launching the program, Field Elementary students have achieved an impressive 36.35 percent increase in cardiovascular endurance and a 50.8 percent increase in upper body strength.

“Project Fit America is a wonderful tool to put alongside the Houston Independent School District (HISD) program,” said Eugene Field Elementary School Physical Education Teacher Chantele Seymore. “It has motivated our students in such a positive way about staying fit. I believe this program has played a major role to improve daily activities.”

Since 1980, childhood obesity has tripled according to a recent report from the U.S. Surgeon General. In answer to this alarming epidemic, PFA works to bring fully funded fitness programs to schools, creating new opportunities for children to be active, fit, and healthy as part of the everyday school experience.

“Memorial Hermann’s nearly 20 year partnership with HISD through our Health Centers for Schools program serves as a cornerstone for enduring community health and wellness,” said Elizabeth LoCaste, Memorial Hermann Community Benefit Corporation program manager. “Marathon Oil and Memorial Hermann’s sponsorship of Project Fit America is another great example of our proactive response to the growing need for medical and wellness services in our community.”

“Marathon Oil is very pleased to be joining Memorial Hermann in supporting the PFA children’s health initiative here in Houston,” said Paul Weeditz, director of Corporate Communications for Marathon Oil. “Good health and fitness have direct links to a child’s ability to learn and fully develop their minds and bodies, and the PFA program can play an important role in advancing the concept of healthy body – healthy mind.”

The PFA program includes state-of-the-art indoor and outdoor fitness equipment specifically designed to address areas where children fail fitness tests, indoor fitness equipment and a dynamic curriculum with games, activities, and challenges for kids. The program is designed to teach character development, sportsmanship, team work, and leadership skills with an academic emphasis on creating ‘physically educated’ children who are empowered to take personal responsibility of their health. PFA provides two years of support to the schools along with on-site training for each physical education teacher.

Research shows physical education is not only important for a child’s physical development, but also prepares kids to be better learners in the classroom.

“Quality fitness in education has a direct impact not only on a child’s health, but also on his or her academic success,” said Project Fit America Executive Director Stacey Cook. “We are extremely proud of Marathon Oil Corporation and Memorial Hermann Health System for their commitment to bring this program to the community and for their dedication to improving the health and wellness of children.”

Benefits of Physically Active Children

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness

Childhood Obesity Facts

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention