Topics: Building Better Communities, Immersive Learning, College of Communication Information and Media

June 16, 2009

Today, Peyton Manning and Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St.Vincent officials announced a new school health and wellness campaign to fight Indiana's childhood obesity problem, and unveiled its new public service announcement (PSA) at Christel House Academy gymnasium.

Project 18, a statewide initiative that focuses on school health education and community outreach, is a collaborative effort with Manning, Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St.Vincent, Marsh Supermarkets, Ball State University and Strategic Marketing & Research, Inc. (SMARI).  The project, which is named after Manning's football jersey number, provides Indiana elementary schools with an 18-week health and wellness curriculum designed to address the major risk behaviors in third-grade to fifth-grade students.  It focuses on the areas of nutrition, physical activity and holistic health.

"The 18 interactive lessons allow students to learn critical health content while giving them a chance to practice their new health-enhancing skills in real-life situations," said Joanne Hilden, MD, medical director of Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St.Vincent. "Having an understanding that schools play a significant role in the lives of our children, I encourage educational leaders to improve the health and wellness of our children by partnering with Project 18 to help us fight childhood obesity."

In addition to the school health and wellness curriculum, Manning also unveiled the new Project 18 PSA, which will be provided to Indiana broadcast stations to raise awareness and promote healthy eating and active lifestyles.  The Project 18 PSA will also encourage elementary schools to participate in the program to keep their respective students healthy.

At the end of June, Project 18 will travel Indiana roadways, and bring its mobile van to various community events and safety days to engage Hoosiers in the program.  Kids will participate in an array of fun activities, and have the opportunity to view a virtual Manning conveying information about Project 18 at the community events.

Marsh Supermarkets will be implementing two programs to help children and parents identify healthy foods.

The Down the Aisle program identifies food items that are Project 18 approved on Marsh's shelves based on health guidelines created by registered dieticians at Ball State University and Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St.Vincent. 

Second, Marsh will be providing store tours that will educate children and parents on reading food labels, practicing portion control and providing healthy tips when shopping for food in each food pyramid section.

In 2008, Indiana ranked 11th in the country for obesity.  Approximately one-third of Hoosier children are overweight, and are more likely to develop high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, low self-esteem and depression.

For more information about Project 18, visit or call 317-338-KIDS (5437).

By Ashley Keebler