For the third year, the Orioles and Sarasota County Schools will team up to encourage physical fitness, healthy eating, and tobacco-free living among middle school-aged children through the Orioles Health & Fitness Challenge.
Launched in 2016 in partnership with HealthFit Powered by Sarasota Memorial and SWAT (Students Working Against Tobacco), the program expanded in 2017 to include a greater focus on both nutrition and tobacco-free living, as well as more involvement from Orioles players, coaches, and alumni. The curriculum also expanded to Oak Park School, where faculty adapted the curriculum for students with special needs.
Each student participating in the Orioles Health & Fitness Challenge is eligible for two free tickets to a home game of the Baltimore Orioles' Spring Training season at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota. Each student also receives a voucher for $20 in food and beverage from the Orioles Fit Grill.
Families of participating students may also purchase additional tickets to the same game for just $5 each.
"As we continue to enhance the Orioles Health & Fitness Challenge, we've drawn upon the wisdom of medical experts to deepen the program's focus on nutrition. The curriculum encourages students to eat whole, non-processed foods that are not manufactured to include added sugar and other unhealthful ingredients, which is the single best decision kids can make to improve their overall health. Eating and living like your favorite Orioles means avoiding addictive foods and habit-forming substances that counteract exercise and ultimately undermine an otherwise healthy lifestyle."KAREN ROSE, SARASOTA MIDDLE SCHOOLS,EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
"The Sarasota County School District is pleased to collaborate with the Orioles for the second year in a row on the Health & Fitness Challenge. Health and physical fitness are important factors in students' abilities to do their best academically, and this program helps get them moving, excited and motivated. In addition to our middle schools, we're delighted that Oak Park School will participate in the program this year."GUDRUN NOVAK, RD, LDN, CDE, SARASOTA MEMORIAL HEALTHCARE SYSTEM
"It's important for kids to eat a healthy, balanced diet because it supports the body's rapid growth, and tissue development, while promoting good food habits throughout their lifetime."KIRK VOELKER, MD, PULMONOLOGIST
"Regular exercise, healthy eating, and avoiding tobacco are fundamental for good heart and lung health. It's also important for young people to understand that e-cigarettes are not a healthy alternative to tobacco. The U.S. Surgeon General advised in December 2016 that e-cigarette aerosol is not safe and that e-cigarette use is strongly associated with the use of other tobacco products among youth and young adults."BRAD BRACH, ORIOLES PITCHER
"I was able to visit with the children last year and participate in the challenge, so I understand firsthand how the incentives we provide can serve as great motivation. The kids were excited to meet us and perhaps even more excited to attend a game and get a healthy snack at the ballpark. We're making fitness and nutrition fun, which is the best way to generate enthusiasm and develop an impactful program."