El Paso, Texas
INNOVATION COMPETITION WINNER
Serving 79 schools (K-8) and more than 45,000 students, EPISD’s district-wide, coordinated health program emphasizes a “whole student” approach to wellness. Faced with extremely high obesity rates, EPISD put this program in place to impact every aspect of energy balance with its students. Health literacy and increased quality physical activity are the program’s defining objectives. All physical activity and nutrition programming is integrated into the regular school day and relies on existing staff who step up to act and receive district-wide training to serve as wellness team members and leaders: classroom teachers, health educators, cafeteria workers, and administrators. The Healthy Habits program provides students multiple opportunities for movement throughout the day including brain breaks, recess before lunch, Activity Quotient or “AQ Zones”, and action-based learning labs. Robust nutrition and healthy eating education compliments physical activity programming. El Paso is leading the way with physical activity and has shared its best practices with other schools in the state via the Texas State AAHPERD conference and the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) conference.