Today, Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) announced that the Department of Education has awarded McAllen ISD's Department of Physical Education and Health Instruction Services a $715,495 grant under the Carol M. White Physical Education Program. The grant is expected to stand for a total of 3 years and total $2,146,485.
"Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled, and this trend is hitting the Hispanic community especially hard. By giving kids the tools they need to make healthy decisions, we're helping them put themselves on a path toward a healthier life," Congressman Cuellar said. "Obesity leads to chronic problems like diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure which carry a high price tag in medical bills, so this federal funding is an important long term investment in our community's health. Thank you to McAllen ISD for your commitment to nurturing our students' bodies as well as their minds."
The McAllen Independent School District will partner with the Texas VALLEY (Valuing Activity with Lifestyle Lessons to Encourage Youth), a community-wide partnership, to enact a series of improvements to the K-12 physical education program. The partnership will put an obesity prevention model strategy in place designed to increase the percentage of K-12 students meeting Texas State standards, implement a more focused physical activity, nutrition and health program and implement a tracking system to monitor student success.
"What better time to receive this grant than when the world's most athletic men and women are competing on a world stage at the Olympics," said McAllen ISD Superintendent Dr. James Ponce. "When we educate students, it is with the notion that we want healthy minds and healthy bodies."
This grant arrives on the heels of a report by CNBC that the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission metropolitan area is the most obese in the nation. The report projected that if the region lowered the obesity rate from 38.8 percent to 15 percent, it could save $252 million a year in medical costs annually.