Essentia Health sponsors ‘healthy schools’ challenge

Essentia Health is challenging area schools to implement a program focused on student wellness to facilitate healthy behavior patterns at a young age.

According to Healthy People 2020, the risk of developing a chronic disease in adulthood is largely determined during adolescence when behavioral patterns are established. Program proposals in the areas of physical activity, nutrition, mental health and substance abuse are welcome. Applications are due by Friday, Feb. 28.

To be eligible, schools must reside in one of the following counties: Ashland, Bayfield, Becker, Big Stone, Carlton, Cass, Cook, Douglas, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake, Norman, Pine, Polk, St. Louis or Washburn. Schools can propose a wellness program of their own design that will be funded by Essentia Health. Selected schools will receive up to $2,500 to carry out their program.

2019 winners included: the Maple School District in Maple, Wis.; Virginia High School in Virginia, Minn.; Vandyke Elementary School in Coleraine, Minn.; Lowell Elementary School in Duluth, Minn.; the Spooner School District in Spooner, Wis.; and the Chisholm Kids Plus program in Chisholm, Minn.