American Cancer Society's Healthy Kids Network Wins "Innovations in Prevention Award"

American Cancer Society
Wednesday, 10 December 2003

Honor Presented by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The Healthy Kids Network (HKN), an American Cancer Society community-based program designed to educate and mobilize parents around the issues of healthy students and healthy schools, has been awarded an "Innovations in Prevention Award" by Secretary Tommy Thompson and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

The awards are part of a broader DHHS initiative, Steps to a HealthierUS, and are aimed at identifying and recognizing innovative, exemplary chronic disease prevention and health promotion programs.

"Educating parents on the importance of health issues that face their children is one of the most effective ways to ensure they become healthy adults," said Mark Clanton, MD, MPH, president-elect of the American Cancer Society national volunteer Board of Directors. " While much of this guidance begins at home -- parents, schools, and the greater community all share the desire and responsibility for protecting and nurturing our youth."

The "Innovations in Prevention Awards" are being announced at a press conference today at the National Press Club in Washington DC. Dr. Clanton is accepting the Society's award later this evening at an "Innovations in Prevention Awards" dinner also in Washington, DC at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium.

Behaviors such as tobacco use, poor eating habits and physical inactivity increase a child's risk of being diagnosed with cancer in adulthood. In fact, researchers estimate that if behaviors known to prevent cancer were practiced regularly, two-thirds of cancer would not occur annually. Therefore, incorporating cancer prevention messages and positive behavior change into school health programs will help reduce the risk of cancer.

The American Cancer Society's Healthy Kids Network began as part of an awareness campaign in Eugene, Ore. in 1998 and was implemented nationwide in 2000. Currently, 19 states have active networks, and there are 36,000 HKN members.

Local Healthy Kids Networks have worked to meet the needs of individual schools and communities through such projects as building playgrounds and initiating school health policies. In 2002, for example, Texas Healthy Kids Network members helped pass a state law that addresses the need for coordinated school health programs and required physical activity in schools.

The American Cancer Society is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by saving lives, diminishing suffering and preventing cancer through research, education, advocacy and service. Founded in 1913 and with national headquarters in Atlanta, the Society has 14 regional Divisions and local offices in 3,400 communities, involving millions of volunteers across the United States. For more information anytime, call toll free 1-800-ACS-2345.

For more information, or to contact American Cancer Society, see their website at: www.cancer.org

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