The Buffalo Bills, Independent Health Foundation and the Buffalo Niagara American Heart Association partnered once again in 2017 to launch the Fitness for Kids Challenge and Play 60 Challenge in Western New York schools for students in grades 2 through 5. The goal of both programs is to encourage students to participate in 60 minutes of physical activity each day in school and at home, as well as make good nutrition choices using the “5210 Daily Goal” model (five or more servings of fruits and vegetables, two hours of screen time or less a day, one hour of physical activity a day, and zero sugary drinks a day).
The Play 60 Challenge and the Fitness for Kids Challenge were launched on Oct. 2 in over 60 schools and 542 classrooms throughout the region. To celebrate the launch of the initiative, Bills players hosted a pep rally and Play 60 gym class at Buffalo Public School 32 Bennett Park Montessori. Bills players including Colton Schmidt, Joe Webb, Preston Brown, Robert Blanton, Reid Ferguson, Joe Banyard, Lorenzo Alexander, Conor McDermott, Andre Holmes, Khari Lee and Orion Stewart were in attendance to encourage the children to participate in the Fitness for Kids Challenge and Play 60 Challenge and served as coaches for the Play 60 gym class.
“The Independent Health Foundation is thrilled to be teaming up with the Buffalo Bills Play 60 Challenge again for the 2017-18 school year,” said Carrie Meyer, executive director of the Independent Health Foundation. “This partnership has allowed us to expand our reach with our health and wellness message and bring these programs to more than 540 classrooms each year!”
All participating classrooms throughout WNY received a Fitness for Kids Challenge/Play 60 Challenge Classroom Kit. For the Play 60 Challenge, the kit includes:
• Teacher resource guides offering suggestions to encourage healthy habits
• Classroom scoreboard to track student physical activity minutes
• Student activity calendar
• Bills Play 60 notebooks
• Trading cards to use as weekly incentive prizes
• Certificate of Achievement for each student who completes the challenge
For the Fitness for Kids Challenge, the kit includes:
• Teacher guide
• Classroom newsletters
• Family newsletters
• Classroom prize for November
All classrooms that participate in the Play 60 Challenge throughout the month of October will be entered to win prizes which include an invitation to the Bills Play 60 Fitness party at the ADPRO Sports Training Center in December, signed Bills merchandise and more.
“We know that physical activity produces overall physical, psychological and social benefits, and that inactive children are likely to become inactive adults — which has quickly become a leading indicator for chronic disease. This program aims to change that trajectory all while partnering with role models for an active and fun experience for all involved,” said Marc Natale, executive director of the Buffalo Niagara American Heart Association.
Schools and classrooms that participate in both the Play 60 Challenge in October and the Fitness for Kids Challenge throughout the entire school year will have the opportunity to receive one of 10 $1,000 health and wellness school grants or one of 40 $250 classroom grants as a reward for completing the challenge. One local school who completes both the Fitness for Kids Challenge and Play 60 Challenge will be randomly selected for a Spring Field Day to be hosted at their school.