The 13 school districts and three organizations that made up the first cohort of our childhood obesity initiative, Healthy Schools Healthy Communities, marked a milestone in 2018. After five years of challenging work, their roles in the initiative officially ended. Since 2013, the groups have been working with students to improve school policies, as well as support ideas and activities that make it easier for kids to eat healthy and be active.
In 2018, 19 schools in Missouri were recognized as "America's Healthiest" by Alliance for a Healthier Generation. All 19 of the honored schools are HSHC participants, demonstrating the power of schools and communities working together toward a healthier tomorrow for Missouri's kids!
The Ozarks' Monett R-1 school district, a participant in Cohort I, is one that has experienced sustainable success with the initiative's efforts. School administrators were so impressed with HSHC's positive impact that they decided to make permanent the HSHC district wellness coordinator position. This move helps ensure that the progress of the last five years will continue unabated.
As we prepare for the transition of the next two cohorts in 2019 and 2020, it's important to note that the work of addressing childhood obesity through prevention continues in Missouri. The initiative may be winding down, but in many ways, the real work of creating lasting change that will increase access to healthy food and physical activity where our kids live, learn, and play, is just gearing up!