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Project Healthy Schools (PHS) has been encouraging healthy habits in youth through education, environmental change and measurement since 2004 and has grown into a multifaceted program. Our program is currently in use in more than 30 schools throughout Michigan. What distinguishes PHS from similar programs is its evaluation results, significant community partnerships, and strong team of experts. In addition, the hands-on learning activities and socio-ecological model, which engages the entire school community in this effort, make it a very effective, sustainable approach to impacting children’s health.
Studies have clearly shown that students who have healthier nutrition and more physical activity perform better in the classroom. Additionally, they are establishing behaviors now that may last their lifetime. PHS has five easy to remember goals that promote healthier food choices and increased physical activity, the basics of a healthy lifestyle.
The goals are:
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Make better beverage choices
- Perform at least 150 minutes of exercise each week
- Eat less fast and fatty foods
- Spend less time in front of a screen
PHS started as a pilot program in one Ann Arbor middle school in the 2004–2005 school year and has grown to include more than 30 participating schools in Michigan.
- Ann Arbor Clague Middle School (2004)
- Ann Arbor Forsythe and Slauson Middle Schools (2005)
- Ann Arbor Scarlett, and Tappan Middle Schools (2006)
- Ann Arbor Open School and Ypsilanti’s two middle schools, East and West (2007)
- Corunna Middle School (2008)
- Owosso Middle School and Owosso St. Paul Catholic; Detroit charter schools, University Prep Academy (UPA), and University Prep Science and Math (UPSM)2009
- Detroit charter school, Henry Ford Academy, Ovid Elsie EE Knight Elementary School and Perry Middle School (2010)
- Royal Oak Middle School in partnership with Beaumont Hospital, Laingsburg Middle School, Willow Run Intermediate Learning Center in Ypsilanti, YMCA Detroit Leadership Academy Charter School and Tyrone Elementary School in Harper Woods (2011)
- Lincoln Middle School, Marshall Middle School, Grand Blanc West Middle School, International Prep Academy at MacDowell, Byron Middle School, Morrice Elementary School (2012)
- Chesaning Middle School, Detroit Leadership Academy, Durand Area Middle School, Grand Blanc East Middle School, Grosse Pointe Pierce Middle School, and Schulze Academy in Detroit. (2013)
Over 18,200 sixth graders have participated in PHS as of spring, 2013.
The research program is designed to study the project’s effects on lifestyle, markers of cardiovascular risk, and obesity. It includes students in Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor, and Detroit schools, with more than 5,000 students participating over the last eight years. Approximately 600 Ann Arbor and approximately 240 Ypsilanti students have participated in long term follow up, making it possible to evaluate the program’s long term effectiveness three years after intervention.