SOURCE: KidsMakingHealthyChoices.com

KidsMakingHealthyChoices.com

September 16, 2014 07:30 ET

Walker County Public School System to Integrate Pioneering 'Kids Making Healthy Choices' APP Promoting Good Nutrition and Fitness Into Middle School's iPad® Technology-Enabled Health and Physical Education Curriculum

Ground-Breaking APP to Serve as Turnkey Health Lesson That Inspires, Empowers, Entertains and Enables Children and Educators, Alike, Exemplifying School System's Proactive Effort to Foster Fit Students, Address the Childhood Obesity Epidemic at Large, Deter Bullying, and Leverage Technology Solutions to Facilitate and Enhance Student Learning; One-of-a-Kind APP Bundles Fun and Informative Resources for Kids With Classroom Instructional Tools for Educators

JASPER, AL--(Marketwired - Sep 16, 2014) - Amid September Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, the Walker County Public School System in Jasper, Alabama today announced that it will integrate the ground-breaking "Kids Making Healthy Choices" APP, which is based on the award-winning illustrated children's book "Making Healthy Choices -- A Story to Inspire Fit, Weight-Wise Kids," into its iPad®-enabled health and physical education curriculum at Bankhead Middle School in Cordova, Alabama in an effort to educate, motivate and empower students to get, and stay, on a healthy track through good nutrition and physical fitness. 

The APP, which is designed for both iPad® and iPhone®, serves to inform and inspire kids to make wise lifestyle choices and also better understand and empathize with peers currently struggling with a weight problem, which can lessen the all-too-common incidence of bullying in schools and elsewhere.

"It's been reported that Alabama has the 8th highest childhood obesity rate in the United States with a full 35% of Alabama's youth currently overweight or obese, that Alabama overall is the 8th most obese state in the nation with nearly one-third of the population classified as obese and a staggering 68.2% of the overall population deemed overweight or obese, and that the residents of Walker County rank 66th out of 67 Alabama counties in regards to their health and well-being," notes Jason Adkins, Walker County Board of Education Superintendent, who is championing the deployment of the Kids Making Healthy Choices APP within his district. "As educators and residents of this community, and American citizens in general concerned about the well-being of our nation's youth, it behooves individual schools and systems/districts at large in Alabama and beyond to capitalize on salient opportunities to promote good nutrition and fitness when they present. Leveraging cost-effective, classroom lesson-friendly APPs like 'Kids Making Healthy Choices' designed for iPad® devices, which are currently being utilized within our own district to enhance classroom instruction, is a compelling means toward this end."

The pioneering new Kids Making Healthy Choices APP includes a bevy of valuable kids' edu-tainment and educator/caregiver support resources that promote a healthy youth lifestyle. In total, the APP features these six distinct value added sections:

(1) Powerful Award-Winning Children's Story - This APP includes the complete digital eBook adaptation of the award-winning, illustrated children's paperback "Making Healthy Choices -- A Story to Inspire Fit, Weight-Wise Kids." The APP provides both the Boys' and Girls' Edition of the lauded book to assure the story resonates with the young reader to the greatest extent possible, helping him/her identify with the main character's struggles and ultimate achievements -- and motivate them to make wise lifestyle choices.

In this fictional tale, which garnered acclaim from Oprah Winfrey's personal trainer Bob Greene and Sally Jessy Raphael among a litany of others, the main character changes his/her life from one of unhealthy choices and negative ramifications in the first half of the book, to one of sound choices and positive lifestyle impacts that ensue in the second half of the book. This is a story of empowerment written in a relatable tone and style that engages kids with a "voice" and perspective that resonates.

The eBook contained within the new Kids Making Healthy Choices APP employs a simple and uncluttered interface so users can focus on reading and absorbing the content. The eBook is also native (self-contained) within the APP, so Internet access is not required, and includes convenient tools like keyword search, "favorite" bookmarking and text highlighting. Page thumbnails make it easy for users to jump from chapter to chapter, and the user can easily navigate through pages by either swiping fingers or touching intuitive arrow buttons.

(2) Story Discussion Question Prompts - Adults are encouraged to read this eBook, either with the youngster or separately, so they can key in on those specific scenes and scenarios that resonate with the child. To help facilitate important discussion between educators/caregivers and children, the Kids Making Healthy Choices APP comes complete with Boy and Girl-version question prompts that directly relate to the story, offering a non-confrontational method of establishing communication on this vital subject. This prepared, story-specific Q&A offers a non-combative opportunity for the child to express thoughts and feelings on what is often a sensitive subject. The Q&A fosters impactful classroom discussion.

(3) Fun Activities - This APP also contains gender-specific, health-themed game and activity sheets that include a Healthy Food Crossword Puzzle, Maze, Word Scramble, Letter Shuffle and Connect the Dots, which can be exported via email in PDF format, in whole booklet form or in part so educators/caregivers may print, reproduce and allow children to utilize the fun worksheets offline.

(4) Healthy Kid-Friendly Recipes - The Kids Making Healthy Choices APP features a Recipes section that contains an assortment of kid-friendly food and drink items that are offered by category: breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, side, dessert, beverage and 'all recipes.' To enhance user-friendliness, the Recipe section is alphabetized, keyword searchable, has a "favorite" bookmark feature, and notably allows users to export recipes via email in PDF format, either individually or by category, so they may print, share and utilize the material outside of the APP and/or offline.

(5) Free Online Tools and Resources - Not just an APP for children, Kids Making Healthy Choices also includes an educator/caregiver quick reference hotlink list replete with online tools that can help foster fit kids, including numerous internet calculators, online quizzes, interactive games, videos and even other useful kids' health APPs that are available. Users are enabled to export this document via email in PDF format so they may print, review and utilize the information outside of the APP and/or offline.

(6) Research, Information and News - In a further effort to streamline the provision of helpful resources for caregivers/educators, this APP also contains a separate educator/caregiver quick reference hotlink list of germane news headlines, important statistics and findings, information sources, helpful programs and more. Users are enabled to export this document via email in PDF format so they may print, review and utilize the information outside of the APP and/or offline.

"Unfortunately society tends to be reactive to childhood obesity, dealing with the problem after it manifests, rather than proactive with a preventative mindset," notes APP creator and author, Merilee Kern. "Many educators don't know how to approach the subject within classrooms in general or communicate one-on-one with children who may actually be dealing with weight issues. This unique APP, which directly educates and inspires children to live a healthy lifestyle, can be easily integrated into an elementary and middle school curriculum as a classroom lesson -- one that children can truly identify with and relate to."

Schools/educational institutions can purchase this APP for approximately $1.49 per unit -- a full 50% of the $2.99 retail price -- when purchasing in quantities of 20 or more at the iTunes® Store. This APP offers a highly affordable and transportable alternative to the paperback book format of Making Healthy Choices that carries a retail price of $11.95 -- particularly since the digital APP comes bundled with both gender-specific editions of the book plus a myriad of other value-added resources for both children and caregivers/educators.

The Kids Making Healthy Choices APP is compatible with any iPhone® and iPad® with iOS 6.0 or greater and is available for purchase in the iTunes® Store. Learn more about the APP as well as the book online at www.KidsMakingHealthyChoices.com/theapp.html.

Teacher testimonial about the story:

Visit www.KidsMakingHealthyChoices.com/cruise.html to read a review by a second grade teacher who utilized the book for an in-class lesson on nutrition & lifestyle-based wellness.

Field expert testimonials about the story:

"I'm thrilled to talk about your new book -- I think it's a really innovative way to reach kids... this book I think is a great way to do that."
- Bob Greene, Oprah & Friends on XM Radio

"This story's realistic and empathetic portrayal of a child struggling with weight issues, which is depicted in a non-combative tone and style, is sure to resonate with adolescents and will go a long way in motivating our nation's youth, and their parents, to make positive lifestyle changes."
- Susan Burke, MS, RD, LD/N, CDE

"I'm excited to tell others about the new APP based on your book. It's a fun and unique way to reach kids. What a great way to get kids to stay on a healthy track!"
- Raphael Calzadilla, B.A., CPT, ACE, FitByRaphael.com

"This book is a must read for parents who want to empower their child by understanding the negative societal influences they are up against each day, and exactly how to make decisive changes to get them on track toward a lifetime of health and wellness."
- Julia Griggs Havey, Motivational Speaker, Author of Awaken the Diet Within, LifeChanger, and The Vice Busting Diet

"Every overweight child in America would benefit by reading this inspirational book of hope, which depicts a representative overweight child who achieved his goal of living a healthier, happier life by first understanding why the problem exists and, in turn, making decisive changes."
- Kelli Calabrese, MS, 2004 Personal Trainer of the Year, Author of Feminine, Firm & Fit

"Simple and to the point, this book provides the framework for opening up lines of communication between parents and their overweight children. It does a wonderful job of portraying an average overweight adolescent as he encounters -- and ultimately triumphs over -- the overwhelming amount of commercial, organizational and social stimulus that, on both a conscious and subconscious level, adversely affect his lifestyle choices. A real value for the health conscious parent!"
- Dr. John H. Sklare, Ed.D., Author of The Inner Diet

*As with any medical issue, those concerned about the diagnosis, treatment and/or management of childhood obesity or overweight conditions are encouraged to speak to their physician.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Both Merilee Kern, APP creator and author, and Jason Adkins, the Walker County Board of Education Superintendent, are available for interview

Sources:
www.WalkerHealthAction.org
http://stateofobesity.org/files/stateofobesity2014.pdf (page 10)
http://fasinfat.org/states/al/
https://www.healthiergeneration.org/about_childhood_obesity/in_your_state/alabama/

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