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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 09.20.12

Contacts:

Alana Carchedi, Discovery Education
240-662-2572
alana_carchedi@discovery.com

Emily Cullum, HWCF
202-295-2316
ecullum@whwg.com


HEALTHY WEIGHT COMMITMENT FOUNDATION AND DISCOVERY EDUCATION KICK-OFF THE SCHOOL YEAR OFFERING MORE THAN $150,000 IN PRIZES FOR SCHOOLS NATIONWIDE

– Together Counts™ Initiative Helps Students Stay Healthy at School and at Home Through Healthy Playground Makeover Sweepstakes, Find Your Balance Challenge and USDA’s HealthierUS Schools Challenge –

– Playworld Systems, Good Sports and Wyndham Resorts Sign On As Premiere Prizing Partners –

Silver Spring, Md. (September 19, 2012) – Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF), a CEO-led organization driving a national, multi-year effort designed to help reduce obesity – especially childhood obesity – by 2015, and Discovery Education, the leading provider of high quality curriculum-based digital content to U.S. schools, have re-launched TogetherCounts.com to provide schools nationwide with funds and resources to build healthy environments and help reduce childhood obesity.

Through the Together Counts™ program, HWCF and Discovery Education have re-launched their annual sweepstakes and challenges, giving educators and students across the country the chance to win more than $150,000 in prizes for their schools. These initiatives include:

  • Healthy Playground Makeover Sweepstakes: Administrators, teachers, parents and community members can enter this year’s Healthy Playground Makeover Sweepstakes for a chance to win one of two grand prizes for their school, including $30,000 in cash and sporting goods and a new playground from Playworld Systems, a leading manufacturer of imaginative playground and fitness equipment. One of the grand prizes will be awarded to a school that qualifies for Title I funding. Three-second place schools will each win $5,000 in prizes.
  • Find Your Balance Challenge: The Find Your Balance Challenge is designed to encourage elementary school classrooms to create an action plan to improve physical education and nutrition at their school. Six schools will win prizes. The grand prize winning school will receive $30,000 in cash and sporting goods and an Ultimate Energy Balance Party. The teacher/mentor of the grand prize winning team will receive a five-night stay in a two-bedroom suite provided by Extra Holidays by Wyndham valued at up to $2,420. Two-second place winning schools will each receive $10,000 in prizes and three third place-winning schools will each receive $5,000 in prizes.
  • USDA’s HealthierUS Schools Challenge: HWCF and Discovery Education are also supporting the USDA’s HealthierUS Schools Challenge, which recognizes schools working to create healthier environments through the promotion of nutrition and physical activity. Schools participating in the USDA’s HealthierUS Schools Challenge can enter a sweepstakes to win one of three cash grants. The Grand prize winning school will receive $10,000 to enhance physical education equipment or food service programs. The second place winning school will receive $2,000 and a third place winning school will receive $1,000 plus a certificate for training from the National Food Service Management Institute.
  • The Together Counts program is a national campaign that promotes active, healthy living through energy balance – balancing the calories we consume with the calories we burn. The program focuses its efforts on two critical areas – families and schools. It provides tips, tools and incentives for parents, teachers and school health professionals to use in encouraging energy balance.TogetherCounts.com is a one-stop-shop for all the necessary resources, including Energy Balance 101, a collection of free, standards-based curriculum developed in partnership by Discovery Education, pediatric dieticians and the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE).

    Lisa Gable, President of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation said, “We are delighted to launch the sweepstakes and challenge again this year. We have watched these initiatives grow to engage more than 180,000 participants. We are encouraged to see how the incentives have sparked healthy lifestyle changes at the school level, especially when combined with our free curriculum. With an even larger pool of prizes and new partners to help us extend the impact, we are eager to find out how far parents, teachers and students will go with the Together Counts program in 2013.”

    “Discovery Education is committed to helping reduce childhood obesity nationwide by educating teachers, students and their parents on important health concepts and offering them the tools and resources they need to make healthy decisions,” said Mary Rollins, vice president, Discovery Education. “We are pleased to continue our partnership with the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation to give schools across the country the opportunity to participate in these important initiatives to improve the health of their communities.”

    For additional information on Together Counts and these sweepstakes and challenges, visit www.togethercounts.com.

    About Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation
    The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, a CEO-led organization is a national, multi-year effort designed to help reduce obesity–especially childhood obesity–by 2015. It’s a first-of-its kind coalition that brings together more than 200 retailers, food and beverage manufacturers, restaurants, sporting goods and insurance companies, trade associations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and professional sports organizations. The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF) promotes ways to help people achieve a healthy weight through energy balance–calories in and calories out. It focuses its efforts on two critical areas—families and schools.

    About Discovery Education
    Discovery Education transforms classrooms, empowers teachers and captivates students by providing high quality, dynamic, digital content for grades K-12 and community colleges. Powered by Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the number one nonfiction media company in the world, Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital media, professional development, assessment tools and a passionate educator network to support districts in accelerating student achievement. Discovery Education services like Discovery Education streaming, Discovery Education Techbook and Discovery Education Higher Ed, are in more than half of all US schools and 35 countries around the world. Explore the future of education at www.discoveryeducation.com.

    About the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE)
    The preeminent national authority on physical education and a recognized leader in sport and physical activity, the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) is a non-profit professional membership association that sets the standard for practice in physical education and sport. NASPE’s 15,000 members include: K-12 physical education teachers, coaches, administrators, researchers, and college/university faculty who prepare professionals in these areas. NASPE seeks to enhance knowledge, improve professional practice, and increase support for high-quality physical education, sport and physical activity programs. It is the largest of the five national associations that make up the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation & Dance (AAHPERD). For more information, visit www.naspeinfo.org.

    About Good Sports
    Good Sports helps to lay the foundation for healthy, active lifestyles by providing athletic equipment, footwear, and apparel to disadvantaged young people nationwide. By partnering with sporting goods manufacturers, Good Sports is able to get the necessary equipment into the hands of the kids that need it most, giving them a chance to get in the game. Since 2003, Good Sports has provided over $6 million worth of equipment to nearly 750 youth programs, impacting more than 400,000 kids. For more information on how you can support Good Sports, please visit www.goodsports.org.

    About Extra Holidays by Wyndham
    Extra Holidays by Wyndham specializes in offering quality vacation accommodations throughout the United States, Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Extra Holidays by Wyndham is a specialized, resort condominium rental operator and a part of Wyndham Vacation Ownership, which is headquartered in Orlando, Fla. A subsidiary of Wyndham Worldwide, Wyndham Vacation Ownership is the world's largest vacation ownership business, as measured by the number of vacation ownership resorts, individual vacation ownership units and owners of vacation ownership interests.

    About Playworld Systems, Inc.
    For 40 years, Playworld Systems has been a leader in creating imaginative, customized commercial play and fitness equipment that positively impacts the health and well-being of communities around the globe. Based on the belief that The World Needs Play®, Playworld Systems brings the joy and benefits of healthful outdoor play and exercise to people of every age and ability through such innovative product lines as ENERGI®, LifeTrail® Advanced Wellness System, Playworld®, PlayDesigns®, NEOS® and OriginsTM. The multi-generational, family-owned company continues to invest significant resources to measurably reduce its impact on the environment, from taking aggressive action to eliminate PVC to enhancing its waste management and recycling programs. In fact, Playworld Systems is the first major U.S. playground manufacturer to remove 99.999 percent of PVC from its products. Playworld Systems offers an optimal customer experience unique in the industry – from value-added services using Microsoft Tag to personalized attention through its vast network of local distributors.

    The Lewisburg, Pa.-based company has received numerous awards throughout its history, including two International Industrial Design Excellence Awards, a gold medal from International Design magazine, two News Directors’ Choice Awards on Early Childhood, and the Pennsylvania Governors’ Award for Safety Excellence. For more information, visit PlayworldSystems.com.

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