Mercy & Unity Hospitals receive statewide community health award
FRIDLEY, Minn. 06/01/2007--The Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA) recently honored Mercy & Unity Hospitals and the Anoka-Hennepin School District with the 2007 Large Hospital Community Partnerships Award for their combined healthy school initiative, Power Hour. The hospital-school partnership also received the Anoka County Public Health Recognition Award.
Power Hour is an after school program for elementary school children in grades kindergarten through five and their families. It focuses on healthy living and obesity prevention through nutrition and exercise education. Power Hour is now offered in four area elementary schools.
Evaluation of the program shows that it is successful in meeting its objectives:
- Participants increased their knowledge of the importance of physical activity and nutritious eating habits.
- Participants chose to eat healthier foods.
- Participants increased their physical activity level.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of overweight children ages 6 to 11 has doubled since 1980, and the percentage of overweight adolescents ages 12 to 19 has tripled. Overweight children are at higher risk of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and various cancers.
"Working with the schools is an effective way of preventing childhood obesity, in turn reducing health problems they might face later in life," said Craig Malm, executive director of the Community Health Improvement department.
In addition to the curriculum offered to Power Hour participants, the partnership is expanding the scope of these efforts into classrooms and cafeterias to reinforce the healthy living habits throughout the schools. "Our goal is to empower youth to make healthy lifestyle choices, hour by hour," Malm said.
Mercy & Unity Hospitals
Mercy Hospital and Unity Hospital, located in Coon Rapids and Fridley, are non-profit hospitals that serve the northern Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. The hospitals, which are part of Allina Hospitals & Clinics, are located on the Internet at www.mercyunity.com.
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Weight control for kids
Mercy & Unity Hospitals: Community partnerships
Allina Hospitals & Clinics: Community involvement