Friday, March 9, 2012

Partners Step It Up program expands

During a Feb. 29 visit to Boston by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Gov. Deval Patrick, Mayor Thomas M. Menino, the Boston Public Schools, Partners HealthCare and the Partners Center for Connected Health announced that the Partners Step It Up program will be offered to elementary students at six Boston public schools this year.

Sebelius visited the Oliver Wendell Holmes Elementary School in Dorchester and was given a demonstration of the program, aimed at raising awareness of the importance of daily activity and good health. Partners Step It Up will provide wireless pedometers to about 400 third- and fourth-grade students. These “sneaker chips” clip onto shoes and are designed to count the number of steps each student takes and records activity minutes. The data is automatically uploaded to a designated computer hub in the school whenever students walk near it.

“We want to help the young people of our city live active, healthy lives. Partners Step It Up encourages increased physical activity and good nutrition. Through our collaboration with the Center for Connected Health, DotWell, and the Boston Public Schools, we’re able to expand Partners Step It Up from two to six schools this year,” said Gary Gottlieb, MD, president and CEO of Partners HealthCare.

Beginning in April and throughout the 10-week challenge, teams will compete in a virtual foot race from Boston to Orlando, Fla. Each week, teachers receive an overview showing their team’s step total, and each student will be given an individual step count report.

“We’re delighted to see that technology-enabled health programs are being welcomed so enthusiastically at the schools and look forward to this spring’s program,” said Joseph C. Kvedar, MD, director of the Partners Center for Connected Health.

Read more articles from the 03/09/12 Hotline issue.

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