Childhood obesity month sparks healthy school makeover contest

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TEXOMA -- SPARK is a company that uses research and field-testing to improve physical education in schools nationwide such as Ben E. Franklin Elementary in Wichita Falls. Now, Texoma schools interested in an upgraded P.E. program have a chance to win it. For this Mom’s Everyday Health segment, SPARK’s Executive Director Paul Rosengard explains the how’s and why’s of this special competition.

“September is National Childhood Obesity Month and we’re excited about that," said Rosengard. "We want to promote it so our partners got together with us to support physical activity and healthy eating in schools. And we came up with the idea of having this contest.”

Rosengard adds that the childhood obesity issue and a lack of Physical Education funding in schools has inspired SPARK to sponsor the “Healthy School Makeover Contest” for schools K-12.

The goal of the contest, which runs now through October 31st is to spotlight how both the physical and mental wellness in students can be improved with better physical education and less junk food in kids diets...a statement Texas Health WNJ Clinical Dietician Kelly Hughes agrees with.

"It's a lot of empty calories," Hughes said about junk food. "It doesn't have a lot of benefit to them. It's usually high in sodium, high in sugar, high in saturated fat so it can really affect an individual's weight gain."

Schools, teams or individuals can enter a school in the healthy school makeover contest with a short video on why they need a “healthy school makeover” and how they’ll commit to improving the students’ healthy living. Videos will be posted online at so the public can vote for the finalists and a winner will be chosen from a panel of judges. The prize is $45,000 worth of resources to help create that healthy school environment including curriculum for the teachers and training and equipment for the kids.

SPARK Executive Director Paul Rosengard says, "We really want to create a more inclusive environment and the new physical education does exactly that. So students are doing the same thing with the same piece of equipment all at the same time but rather instruction is differentiated. And with differentiated instruction, everybody can be successful and become more confident.”

Visit for rules to submit your video before October 31st. Once the winning video is chosen, Hall of Fame golfer Annika Sorenstam will present the grand prize.

To find more information about the contest, you can also search SPARK Programs on Facebook. For more information on SPARK, visit, email or call 1-800-SPARK-PE. And for more information on School Specialty or their other partners, visit

Partnering companies and organizations include SPARK, Sportime, AAHPERD/NASPE, Healthy Kids Challenge, Skillastics, Healthy Lifestyle Choices, GenMove, The First Tee, Polar, School Specialty, and the ANNIKA Foundation.

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