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Company gives schools 'healthy makeovers' to help combat child obesity

Child obesity rates have more than tripled over the past 30 years, putting kids at risk of developing conditions that typically only affect adults – such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.

But a new organization called SPARK is trying to put a stop to that trend by offering schools guidance on how to encourage more physical activity throughout the day.

“SPARK is a research-based organization, and we provide physical education…and coordinate health programs for schools across the world,” Ellen Ormsby, a representative from the SPARK program, told FoxNews.com.

According to Ormsby, thousands of schools have implemented the SPARK program to help enhance physical education classes and incorporate more activity into classroom settings.  Studies have shown that increased physical activity may lead to improved academic performance.

“SPARK focuses on the infrastructure and the policies the school has in place,” Ormsby said. “We also look to provide some curriculum materials that teachers can use to provide more activity, more active lessons…so more students are moving more often in class, and increase to moderate to vigorous activity.”

The SPARK program has partnered with other organizations to launch the “Healthy School Makeover Contest,” which is meant to transform a school and provide more opportunities for activity before school, after school and during the school day.  The prize also offers a $45,000 package that includes a health and nutritional education curriculum for teachers.  It will be presented by Hall of Fame golfer Annika Sorenstam.

Schools can enter the contest by visiting healthyschoolmakeover.com and submitting a video explaining why they need a makeover.

For more information about SPARK, visit SparkPE.org.