New Kids Heart Challenge™ marks American Heart Association’s 40th year in nation’s schools

Students will jump rope, shoot hoops, dance or scramble through obstacle courses their way to heart health while raising money for scientific research and outreach programs

September 19, 2018 Categories: Program News

DALLAS, Sept 19, 2018 — Students in elementary schools around the country have a new way to move their bodies toward heart health, earn benefits for their schools and give back to their community this school year. The American Heart Association today announced details of its new Kids Heart Challenge™, which includes jump rope, basketball, dance and warrior (obstacle course) components. The Kids Heart Challenge™ marks the Association’s 40th year working in schools and meets the changing needs of today’s youth and educators by preparing kids for success through physical and emotional well-being.

“By reimagining the American Heart Association’s presence in schools, the Kids Heart Challenge teaches valuable heart health lessons and provides kids the opportunity to make a difference in their community and raise funds for the AHA,” said Tanya Edwards, American Heart Association executive vice president of community health and development. “The Kids Heart Challenge™ combines successful elements from previous programs with new features including a whole-child focused curriculum and significant incentives to support participating schools. We’ve collaborated with educators to ensure we make a lasting impact on the overall health and well-being of kids, schools and their communities.”

The Kids Heart Challenge™ encourages heart-healthy behavior as students pledge to be more physically active, drink more water and do a good deed. For teachers, the Kids Heart Challenge™ offers four activations to get students’ hearts pumping:

  • Kids Heart Challenge™ Jump – With jump ropes in hand, students learn about the many health benefits of jumping rope – it burns calories, build agility and increases bone density – while competing in challenges to complete the most jumps in a minute.
  • Kids Heart Challenge™ Hoops – Playing basketball not only builds character, it reveals it through team work and comradery. Students aim, shoot, cheer and celebrate as they take the court for Kids Heart Challenge™ Hoops. It’s not only fun for them, it’s good for their emotional well-being.
  • Kids Heart Challenge™ Dance – Students will get moving and laughing as they dance to the “Cha Cha Slide” or “Space Jam” and show off their hip-hop or Virginia reel skills. As the dancing gets under way, students get that feel good feeling from their heads down to their toes. They’ll get plenty of physical activity while learning self-confidence, creativity and collaboration.
  • Kids Heart Challenge™ Warrior – The obstacle course craze hits schools with Kids Heart Challenge™ Warrior. Students will crawl, run and leap their way to a cardio-pumping great time as they dart through cones, fly over hurdles or tip-toe across the balance beam. Warrior events give students feelings of achievement and strength while they cheer each other on. Let the games begin!

In addition to the new activations, the Kids Heart Challenge™ provides enhanced give-backs, direct contributions to schools and new curriculum for teachers supporting whole-child centered learning. As in previous years, certificates to purchase physical education equipment from an expanded US Games catalog are available. Participating schools are also eligible to apply for the new grant program, furthering the health impact teachers can have with their students. The enhanced curriculum available with the Kids Heart Challenge™ includes a series of classroom-based physical activity plans and resources that support social and emotional learning. Teachers also gain access to OPEN (Online Physical Education Network) which provides physical education curriculum resources and physical activity programming.

Funds raised by the Kids Heart Challenge™ supports advocacy initiatives to keep physical education in schools, ensures kids have access to healthy foods and provides resources to advocate for CPR in school laws that ensure every student knows how to save a life. Since 1949, the Association has funded $4.1 billion in research since 1949 and currently funds 2,000 scientists around the United States.

More information about Kids Heart Challenge™ is available online at heart.org/kidsheartchallenge. Educators and Kids Heart Challenge™ coordinators may also join the new Kids Heart Challenge™ Facebook group at www.facebook.com/group/kidsheartchallenge to share stories, best practices and successes.  To learn more about other school programs, or to make a donation to the American Heart Association, please visit www.heart.org.

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About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

For Media Inquiries: 214-706-1173

Kelsey.Walters@heart.org, 214-706-4851

For Public Inquiries: 800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and strokeassociation.org