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| 1 min read | by Lonnie Huhman, lhuhman@thesuntimesnews.com |

Since the beginning of the school year, Anchor Elementary School has been working on building a healthy school community.

This Dexter Community school for grades young fives through second is involved in a unique program called Building Healthy Communities -BHC.

Anchor principal Craig McCalla described it as, “a school-wide health initiative which provides students opportunities to make healthy choices.”

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“This is an awesome opportunity,” McCalla said.

He said the grant application was spearheaded by P.E. teacher Patrick Glynn.

The program uses a school-wide approach which engages principals, classroom and P.E. teachers, other staff members, and families to encourage our students to choose healthy foods and be physically active every day.

“BHC combines healthy eating education with physical activity to make our school a healthier place to learn,” McCalla said.

According to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network, the program was originally created by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan in 2009, as an evidence-based, comprehensive, school-wide initiative that supports children’s health by providing students, teachers and administrators with the training, curriculum, equipment, funds, communication tools and support to improve student health, while creating a healthier school environment.

Through the grant program, Anchor will receive:

  • Healthy eating education lessons co-taught by a Healthy School Coordinator and teachers in all Y5-2 classrooms. Each lesson includes a healthy eating activity and a physical activity break. If food items are presented families will be notified ahead of time for allergy purposes. 
  • Training and resources for P.E. teachers and new equipment for the gym and playground.
  • Access to the Fuel Up to Play 60 program through United Dairy Industry of Michigan. 

“By partnering with Building Healthy Communities we are letting everyone know we care about the health of our students,” McCalla said. “Healthy students are better learners and our school is a great place to learn!”

Glynn has started the Anchor Legs Running Club as one way for the students to be physically active.  The recommendation for physical activity is 60 minutes per day and this club is just one more way to help students work toward that goal.

Also, Glynn and his classes will soon be receiving high-quality equipment to help teach skills they can use throughout their lives to be physically active, and the school will be receiving equipment for use at recess to help students be active on the playground.

Building Healthy Communities is supported by multiple statewide organizations, including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Michigan Department of Education, Michigan Fitness Foundation, Michigan State University Extension, Michigan Team Nutrition, United Dairy Industry of Michigan, the University of Michigan, Michigan Health Endowment Fund, Wayne State University Center for Health and Community Impact and Action for Healthy Kids.

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