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National PTA and Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation Expand Partnership With Pre-K Smart from the Start Grant Program

Media Contact:
Heidi May
Media Relations Manager
703-518-1242
hmay@pta.org

More than $100,000 in grants offered to PTAs across the country through new program

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Nov. 21, 2013) — National PTA® and the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF) have expanded their partnership to bring Smart from the Start, an early childhood health education grant program, to PTAs across the country. Through Smart from the Start, more than $100,000 in grants will be awarded to PTAs to empower them to engage families of children ages 3-5 and partner with their communities to improve access to healthy foods and safe physical activity options. Smart from the Start was launched in September 2013 as a commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative.

“Teaching children and families about the importance of nutrition and physical activity is critical to help them make good decisions now and sets the stage for a healthy lifestyle into adulthood,” said Otha Thornton, National PTA President. “We are pleased to expand our partnership with the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation to empower PTAs with tools and resources that inspire active, healthy living and improve communities across the country.”

Smart from the Start focuses on the healthy lifestyle practice of energy balance – balancing calories consumed with calories burned. Through the program, National PTA will award 10 Smart from the Start: Community Outreach grants of $10,000 each to district, council and regional PTAs to focus on a specific neighborhood community in which to improve access to healthy foods and safe physical activity options for young families. Applications for the grants will be available beginning in January 2014 at PTA.org. The deadline to submit applications is March 28, 2014.

In addition to the community outreach grants, 25 Smart from the Start: Pre-K grants of $2,000 also will be awarded to PTAs in 2014 to implement the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation’s Energy Balance Pre-K curriculum. This grant application will be available in Spring 2014.

“National PTA has taken a real leadership role in expanding our Together Counts ™ program to reach pre-schools and Head Start programs across the country,” said Lisa Gable, President of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation. “It’s never too early to teach children the importance of energy balance, and we look forward to seeing the impact of this innovative partnership.”

Smart from the Start is part of the Together Counts initiative. Together Counts is a national campaign that promotes active, healthy living through energy balance. The program focuses on two critical areas – families and schools. It features tips, tools and incentives for parents, teachers and school health professionals to use to encourage energy balance; promote active, healthy lifestyles; and address childhood obesity.

For more information on Smart from the Start, visit www.togethercounts.com/at-school/pre-k. To learn more about the Together Counts program, visit www.togethercounts.com or the Spanish site at www.juntoscontamos.com.

About National PTA

National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of parent involvement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c) (3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health, and welfare of children and youth.

About Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation

The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, a CEO-led organization, is a national, multi-year effort designed to help reduce obesity–especially childhood obesity–by 2015. It’s a first-of-its kind coalition that brings together more than 250 retailers, food and beverage manufacturers, restaurants, sporting goods and insurance companies, trade associations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and professional sports organizations. The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF) promotes ways to help people achieve a healthy weight through energy balance–calories in and calories out. It focuses its efforts on two critical areas—families and schools – through their Together Counts™ campaign.