The Utah Department of Health indicates that more than one-half of the state's elementary students and teachers will develop better lifestyle habits as a reward for commitment to the Gold Medal Schools program.
Gold Medal Schools is a unique health department program developed to provide students and staff with opportunities to eat healthy, become active and stay tobacco-free.
According to the health department, more than 200 public, private and charter schools in Utah will receive cash incentives ranging from $200 to $1,000 for the purchase of physical education equipment and nutrition along with tobacco prevention resources.
The program also awards plaques for meeting the established criteria in the bronze, silver, gold and platinum levels.
There are numerous ways people can recognize a Gold Medal School.
Some of the schools have established walking programs on or around playgrounds to set physical activity goals for students.
In other schools, teachers are using incentives other than food as rewards.
Comprehensive tobacco-free policies are in place at Utah Gold Medal Schools.
In addition, wellness activities for faculty and staff are as common as reading, writing and arithmetic on campuses participating in the department of health program.
Several schools in Carbon County have implemented policies toward meeting the program's mission.
Policies creating opportunities for students and staff include:
Requiring 90 minutes of physical activity for students every week.
Walking the Gold Medal Mile at least once a week.
Identifying safe routes to school.
Developing faculty and staff wellness policies.
Implementing tobacco-free guidelines.
Castle Heights Elementary earned bronze, silver and gold medals during the school's first year participating in the program.
Castle Heights also received a $1,000 cash incentive.
Creekview Elementary captured a gold medal and received a $500 cash reward.
Sally Mauro achieved silver medal recognition and received a $300 cash incentive.
Pinnacle Canyon Academy and Castle Valley Center reached the platinum level in the program.
Pinnacle Canyon and Castle Valley Center received $300 cash incentives.
The Southeastern Utah Health District is recruiting local elementary schools to join the program until the end of the month.
Recruiting for program participants will start again at the beginning of the next school year.
To sign up, schools in Carbon County may contact Jessie Huff at the public health district office in Price at 637-3671.