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Educator honored as healthy schools program champion

POSTED: November 9, 2011 4:00 a.m.

A local educator was recently named as a Healthy Schools Program Champion by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

Founded by the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation, the alliance supports the work of more than 13,000 schools across the country as they strive to make campuses healthier places to learn and work.

Leigh Ann Dyer is a school nurse at Black's Mill Elementary School, where meals meet the guidelines established by the alliance to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity.

Each year the Healthy Schools Program selects a handful of its most effective advocates to serve as Healthy School Champions for the year -motivating and leading students and staff toward healthier school environments and serving as national spokespeople for the Healthy Schools Program.

"We commend the dedication of our Healthy Schools Program Champions for their leadership in improving their school's meals service, physical activity programs and employee wellness initiatives," said Ginny Ehrlich, chief executive officer of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. "Their success proves that despite competing academic priorities, schools can equip children with the experience and knowledge they need to develop healthy habits for life."

As part of Dyer's commitment to improving her school's health and wellness practices, she promotes various initiatives including physical activity breaks during class and more nutritious cafeteria menu options.

From her passion for fitness, Dyer encourages her colleagues and students to use the school's exercise facilities. Due in large part to Dyer's guidance and support from the Alliance's Healthy Schools Program, Black's Mill Elementary School was awarded a Silver National Recognition Award from the Alliance.

Launched in 2006 with 231 schools in 13 states, the Healthy Schools Program now supports more than 13,000 schools across the country to help transform them into healthier places where physical activity and healthier foods are available before, during and after school.

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