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Step It Up Challenge Encourages Kids To Get Active

School employees across Ohio – and the country – have an opportunity to go the extra mile to encourage students and other community members to exercise and improve their health.

And they can do it one step at a time.

The Health Action Council, a nationwide organization based in Cleveland, is holding its fall Healthy Kids Step It Up Challenge from Oct. 31 through Nov. 13. The activity is being held in partnership with FitBit, which makes devices that keep track of steps and other health data.

Teams of at least three school employees will compete with each other to rack up the most number of steps during the challenge. Students can participate if there is at least one school staff member on the team.

Through the Ohio High School Athletic Association, the school district that totals the most steps will receive $1,500, while the top steppers in each of its six districts will win $1,000.

Top teams outside of Ohio will receive a $500 donation to a school program of their choice, and a healthy lunch worth $500.

There is no cost to participate. Steps can be logged on devices other than a FitBit, but must be recorded on their app.

Patty Starr, CEO of the Health Action Council, said school employees will be “leading by example” by participating in the event.

The council started in 1983 by five companies that wanted to get the most out of the millions they were spending on employee health care, and worked with hospitals to make sure their workers were getting quality care.

It has since expanded to include 220 members covering 2.6 million individuals in 50 states. It also has broadened its mission to cover a wide range of health care issues, including childhood fitness.

“The healthier kids are today, the healthier they will be as adults,” Starr said. “The earlier health education happens, the healthier you are likely to be as you age.”

That means lower health care costs and improved productivity for businesses, by reducing absenteeism, Starr pointed out.

The Health Action Council promotes vaccinations, well-child visits and health literacy, as well as keeping kids active.

Getting kids moving is a challenge these days, with more screen time and changes in diet, Starr noted.

Having adults become role models is an important element, she said.

Teams across Ohio have embraced the concept.

The summer Step It Up Challenge had 68 teams with 518 individuals participating. The winning team was Chicks with Kicks, from Toledo, which amassed 524,686 steps.

The individual winner was Kim Silvaroli, with the Horizon Science Academy in Cleveland, who piled up an impressive daily average of 68,943 steps per day and a total of 965,207.

Silvaroli told the Health Action Council that she collected most of her steps by “golfing, running every day, and chasing my two-year-old son and my dogs.”

Horizon Science Academy’s Wonkey Donkey team won the spring challenge, its third consecutive win.

Robin Dahman, a teacher at Clearview High School, is leading her own team for the first time, but she is no stranger to taking on her own physical challenges and encouraging kids to do the same.

Dahman is a cross country and volleyball coach, who hits the gym at 3:30 a.m. to prepare for such events as half-marathons.

She has seen that getting kids moving and promoting physical, mental and emotional health improves their academic performance.

She has 25 members on her team – called the Dahman-ators – including students, who can win prizes for having the most steps every day.

Some of those students will be kicking off the Step It Up Challenge Oct. 31 with a 5K race.

Team registration ends Oct. 27. The winners will be announced Nov. 16.

For more information on The Healthy Kids Step It Up Challenge click HERE.  

About Health Action Council
Health Action Council is a not-for-profit 501(c)(6) organization representing mid-and large-size employers that enhances human and economic health through thought leadership, innovative services, and collaboration. It provides value to its members by facilitating projects that improve the quality and moderate the cost of healthcare purchased by its members for their employees, dependents, and retirees.

Health Action Council also collaborates with key stakeholders – health plans, physicians, hospitals, and the pharmaceutical industry – to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare in the community. 

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