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First Lady Jenny Sanford & Healthy SC School VideoContest

COLUMBIA, SC – October 29, 2007 – With education and love, all of our children can grow into responsible, productive adults.  And yet, regardless of how much education a child gets, he or she will never reach full potential without the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

Unfortunately, today’s children face much higher risks of developing chronic diseases and other health complications that result from poor lifestyle than at any other time in history.  Our high rates of overeating, smoking and sedentary lifestyle have led us to a crisis point when it comes to quality of life.   These patterns of indulgence and laziness translate over time into hypertension, diabetes, asthma and other chronic diseases – which in turn ends up costing taxpayers and ending lives before their time.  That’s why I believe it’s time to take a different approach to addressing the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle because whatever has been done in the past obviously isn’t working.

I’m joining with Superintendent of Education Jim Rex to try a new approach through the Healthy SC School Video Contest. Together we are issuing a healthy challenge to all South Carolina students (ages 13 through high school): create a 30 to 60 second video advertisement that addresses the importance of healthy living or chronic disease prevention, with the chance to win cash prizes.  We’re also challenging all South Carolinians to help us view these videos online and pick the winners! 

The Healthy SC School Video Contest is sponsored by and hosted on OurStage.com, an online competition where the fans decide who’s the best in emerging video and music.  Students will upload their videos to OurStage.com (by logging on first to www.healthysc.gov), and all South Carolinians will be encouraged to view and judge these videos on OurStage through their unique judging engine which ensures that each piece is judged fairly by the viewers.

Videos can be uploaded beginning November 1, 2007 and through January 23, 2008. To enter the contest and upload a video or to vote, go to www.healthysc.gov and click on the OurStage photo which will take you to a special page created specifically for this contest.  At the end of each month the Top Video winner will receive $3,500 cash and the Runner-Up video will be awarded $1,500 cash, and both their schools will receive health-related prizes as well from our corporate sponsors.

This is a chance for students to win $20,000 total in cash prizes as well as thousands of dollars in prize packages for their schools.  These winners will be chosen by people from all across the state (and perhaps the nation) – voters will choose from all videos submitted beginning the first of each month and running until 7 days before the end of the month when the field gets narrowed and voting then continues until our winners have been chosen at the end of the last day of that month! This means it’s best to get your videos made and uploaded near the beginning of the contest month. 

Finally, there will be a $5,000 Special Award, given to the video identified as the one that most effectively addresses chronic disease prevention/healthy living with a good balance of content and entertainment, not necessarily the most entertaining video. This winner will be chosen by an Advisory Group which will include Dr. Rex and myself and a handful of others involved in health, education and wellness.

We have partnered with South Carolina Association of Independent Schools, the Catholic Schools Diocese and other school organizations to get the word out to our students, and our corporate sponsors include Blue Cross Blue Shield of SC, Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, Coca-Cola Bottling Co.
Consolidated, Subway, Palmetto Project and Wal-Mart.

The incredible rise in chronic disease and related health care costs is in large part a result of our increasingly poor lifestyle choices. In order to turn the tide what we really need is a cultural shift. Where better to sow the seeds of such a cultural revolution than with and through our own children!

Children can be incredibly creative and this is an attempt to let them teach one another and all of us on their level and in their world.  Most of our children know what is good for them and what is not – now they will get to teach that to us!  Our hope is this challenge will be fun and informative for all and that together we can raise the bar and improve our collective health.  So get involved.  Log on to help pick the winning videos and encourage students in your family, school or community to make a video and to vote for the winners too. Lets all have fun listening to and learning from our kids!

For more information about the Healthy SC School Video Contest, please visit www.healthysc.gov or contact Curry Hagerty in the Office of the First Lady at 803.737.4772.