Sally Sansom, Principal at East Midvale Elementary School, planned a family fitness fun night for her students and their families. At Herriman Elementary, Principal Becky Gerber and her 1,100 students planted garden boxes. Principal Mark Longe brought in his CrossFit trainer to teach his St. Vincent schoolchildren exercise techniques. These events were all part of the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute’s “My Heart Challenge,” which pitted 15 elementary school principals against each other in becoming more healthy and fit—a challenge they all took seriously, not just for themselves but for all their students.
Each principal decided how he or she would approach the 100-day challenge, and the results were outstanding. The 15 educators lost a combined weight of 228 pounds. But the biggest effect was on the children. “Kids were more aware of the food they ate and how active they were,” said Sally. “They would even encourage their parents to eat better and do more. I saw families making changes in their lives because they saw that I could do it.”
Intermountain hospitals have sponsored heart-healthy challenges since 2007, when Utah Valley Regional Medical Center launched its “100-day Heart Challenge.” At Intermountain Medical Center, the Heart Institute’s “My Heart Challenge” began in 2012 with local mayors and city leaders, continued in 2013 with principals, and includes firefighters in 2014.