January 2018, Morristown, NJ – Atlantic Health System is teaming up with local schools to develop programs that will make it easier for students to embrace healthy lifestyles and habits, as part of the Atlantic Healthy Schools program’s A+ Challenge.
The initiative was created in response to data indicating that chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity, are major health issues in local communities. Prevention, combined with early intervention, is easier and more cost-effective than treatment, making schools the perfect setting for creating a positive impact on the health of local communities.
“Our goal is to help schools create an environment and culture where everything is working to make the healthy choices the easy choices,” said Maryann Walsh, coordinator of the Atlantic Healthy Schools program.
Throughout central and northwestern New Jersey, 37 schools were selected to receive funding from Atlantic Health System for their selected projects. The schools are also provided with assistance and resources from on-call Atlantic Healthy Schools specialists.
The projects range from infrastructure upgrades such as installing bike racks to encourage biking, to programmatic changes, such as a “no food rewards” policy, in which students are not rewarded with food, but instead with healthier alternatives such as additional play time, field trips, stickers, school supplies or toys, to events such as a physical activity fair in the community.
A full list of the schools along with the projects they chose is attached along with a more detailed list of program descriptions. Schools began to receive funding for the programs the first week of January. The A+ Challenge will culminate with a celebration recognizing the schools’ achievements in June.
About Atlantic Health System
Atlantic Health System, headquartered in Morristown, N.J., is an integrated health care delivery system powered by a workforce of 16,000 team members dedicated to building healthier communities. The system is comprised of 350 sites of care, including six hospitals: Morristown Medical Center, Overlook Medical Center, Newton Medical Center, Chilton Medical Center, Hackettstown Medical Center and Goryeb Children’s Hospital. Atlantic Health System also supports communities through Atlantic Medical Group, Atlantic Rehabilitation, Atlantic Home Care and Hospice, and its subsidiary, Atlantic Ambulance Corporation. Atlantic Health System sponsors the Atlantic Accountable Care Organization, one of the larger ACOs in the nation, and Optimus Healthcare Partners.