Gottlieb Grant to Help Bellwood Students Get Fit

News Archive July 15, 2013

Gottlieb Grant to Help Bellwood Students Get Fit

MELROSE PARK, Ill. – Meca Elementary Christian School in Bellwood has been awarded a $13,000 grant from Gottlieb Memorial Hospital to pay for specially designed fitness equipment and a two-year school curriculum from Project Fit America. Meca joins more than 15 schools in the western suburbs that have received Project Fit grants from Gottlieb, part of Loyola University Health System.

“Meca is thrilled to receive this fitness grant from Gottlieb and we will share our equipment not just with our students but with our families and our entire community to promote good health,” said Kenneth Crowder, assistant principal and physical education instructor at the school. The school raised money to pay for the ground preparation and installation portion of the Project Fit playground equipment.

The seven outdoor fitness stations will be installed on the school grounds this summer and are uniquely designed for specific exercises including sit-ups, leg lifts, dips and pull-ups.  Physical equipment includes a pole climb, horizontal bar, parallel bar, vault and a step station.

“We want to help give students in our community regular access to lots of healthy and fun exercise to establish lifelong fitness habits," said Lori Price, FACHE, MSA, RN, president, Gottlieb. “Our role as a community hospital is to be here to provide medical care for our neighbors in need and we also want to keep everyone healthy, especially our youngest citizens."

The goal of Project Fit America is to help schools across the nation combat childhood obesity by creating positive fitness habits through fun exercises and group workouts to get kids excited about physical activity for life.

"The rate of childhood obesity has tripled in the past 30 years, placing more and more children at high risk for multiple diseases associated with excess weight previously seen only in adults, including Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol, joint problems and sleep apnea," said Dr. Jessica Bartfield, who specializes in weight management and nutrition at the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care.

Students will learn how to use the specially designed equipment, including monkey bars, climbing ropes and parallel bars to get fit. Kids will be educated on how to climb ropes, do monkey bar rotations and even cup-stacking exercises that both get their heart rates moving and their minds focused on the importance of good health.  All the students are evaluated before, during and after the school year, for two years, to determine each child's physical ability and progress. Project Fit also has a wide range of indoor fitness equipment that features weighted hula hoops, cup-stacking races and dance aerobics to popular tunes including “Peanut Butter Jelly Time."

Project Fit America is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to getting children fit through cardiovascular and fitness education programs. Gottlieb has partnered with the fellow nonprofit group since 1999.

“The children actually are looking forward to the start of school because they will be able to use the new equipment,” Crowder said.

A public ribbon-cutting ceremony is being planned for fall 2013.

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.
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