Date: 2/14/2007

The Community Hospital Fitness Pointe program manager receives premier state award for helping students improve their health

MUNSTER — The Community Hospital Fitness Pointe Pointe Program Manager Debi Pillarella was awarded Indiana’s premier health award, The Tony and Mary Hulman Health Achievement Award for Exceptional Contribution to Preventative Medicine and Public Health, in Indianapolis, recently.

The award recognizes the success of Fitness Pointe’s Take 5 for Life program that has reached more than 2,000 students in East Chicago and Hobart and was expanded last fall to schools in Hammond, Whiting and Lake Ridge.

Take 5 for Life, a program developed and overseen by Pillarella, is a 12-week, in-school pedometer-based walking competition with weekly fitness/nutrition curriculum aligned with State of Indiana education standards. The five components of the Take 5 program are to eat healthy; be active; manage your mind (abstain from drugs, alcohol and tobacco); be well-rested and feel good about yourself.

Guest speakers come to classrooms three times during the program, in addition to special assembly sessions and a healthy eating extravaganza. Parent forums are held and Take 5 for Life at-home supplements are distributed to families. Students set walking/eating goals. Pre/post data is collected and reported to parents (height, weight, blood pressure, lean mass, waist to hip circumference and lifestyle survey). All students receive gold medals and participation awards. Winning schools and classrooms receive trophies.

Take 5 for Life has been supported with funding of more than $150,000 from The Foundations of East Chicago, Inc. and $70,000 from: Indiana State Department of Education; General Mills; Mittal Steel Co.; United Way of Porter, Lake and LaPorte Counties; City of Whiting; Health Visions Midwest; School City of Hobart; Community Hospital; and St. Mary Medical Center.