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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
ING U.S. Awards $125,000 in Grants to Combat Childhood Obesity
ING Run For Something Better® School-Based Running Programs Help Students Learn Healthy Choices and Take Responsibility for Their Own Fitness
ING U.S. is helping educators combat childhood obesity. Through the 2012 ING Run For Something Better® School Awards, financial services leader ING U.S., in partnership with the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE), is awarding grants to help thousands of children discover a love for running and create a foundation for living a healthier lifestyle. Fifty schools from 27 states across the nation will receive up to $2,500 in grant money to support an existing school-based running program or start a new one. The grants will help schools introduce students in kindergarten through eighth grade to the benefits of running and making physical activity a top priority. See the list of 2012 grant recipients.
The 2012 ING Run For Something Better School Awards support a minimum of an eight-week school-based running program that concludes with a culminating running event in celebration of the students' achievements. A $1,000 grant is awarded immediately, with additional funds awarded based on the participation in the program. Schools can download unique running lesson plans developed by NASPE and based on the National Standards for Physical Education (NASPE, 2004) to serve as the foundation of the running program or to supplement an existing school program. Other program materials, such as sample eight-week training plans, distance logs and a running journal will aid in the development of running skills and preparation for a culminating running event.
"ING U.S. is committed to supporting education and offering a solution to educators who are dedicated to helping their students get active and reduce childhood obesity," said Rhonda Mims, president of the ING Foundation and head of the ING U.S. Office of Corporate Responsibility. "Childhood obesity is an important social issue, and we realize schools need additional resources to help fully engage their students in enjoying and leading healthy lifestyles. Through ING Run For Something Better school-based running programs, we are empowering children across the nation to take charge of their health."
Grant awards were available in all states and the District of Columbia to elementary and middle schools. More than 300 schools applied for the 2012 grants. A NASPE review board made up of physical education teachers and administrators reviewed all applications and selected this year's recipients. In 2011 more than 4,500 students ran a total of 136,754 miles — the equivalent to running almost 53 times across the U.S.
"NASPE is thrilled to once again be a part of this exciting opportunity for children by assisting schools in providing another outlet for their students to be active," said Cheryl Richardson, senior director of programs at the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD), NASPE's umbrella organization. "Through programs such as the ING Run For Something Better grant opportunity, we are helping children achieve the minimum of 60 minutes of physical activity they need every day and we are introducing them to activities that they will enjoy doing for a lifetime."
Research has shown running is a great physical activity for promoting good health and self-confidence. It qualifies as a "life sport" — one in which participants are likely to maintain over their life spans. Running helps build strong bones and muscles, contributes to fitness and lends itself to personal goal-setting. Additionally, recent research has shown students who are healthy and physically active are more likely to be motivated, attentive and successful academically.
Learn more about the ING Run For Something Better School Awards and download program materials.