Dr. Kim Eagle - The ability for us to reach the children of our state with health messaging in my opinion is the biggest opportunity that there is.

We felt that the right environment to attack this program really is in the schools. And we should be teaching the value of health to our children. And so, first of all, it's a captive place where we have a chance to get all of them, and second, it's the right environment to teach them about the science of health and hopefully reinforce lifestyle behaviors that potentially they'll adopt and carry through their life. And, not only their life but potentially also their children's life and others that they know.

Nate McCaughtry - The idea of creating a culture of health, a culture of health where kids are surrounded from the moment they get off the bus in the morning to when they get on the bus in the afternoon to go home, and also what happens at home. That they're surrounded constantly in the lunchroom, in their classrooms, on the recess playground, in the PE classes. They’re hearing messages from teachers, from recess monitors, their principals, around healthy living and physical activity and healthy eating. It's no wonder we've been able to find the results that we have because kids are literally surrounded by healthy living the entire day they're at school.

Linda Rossi - And we understood there was no better commitment and no better area to focus our attention than the health of our children. The obesity epidemic is a growing concern across Michigan and we understand that investing in kids and helping them understand how to make better choices will help them have a healthier life. As a working mom I understand it's really hard to make that commitment to better eating and physical activity, but I also understand how important it is to my family's future.

Nate McCaughtry - Active kids learn better. Healthy kids learn better. It was really exciting to see the idea that kids being more active and eating better are actually leading to reductions in levels of obesity. Now, if you look at that from a long-range standpoint you're looking at chronic disease prevention, you're looking at better learners in the classroom, you're looking at eventually healthier adults because we know that healthy kids often lead to healthy adults. And so, if you look at it well into the future you're talking about health care costs, economic productivity, career success, and so the idea of obesity and the way in which this program and schools might be able to impact that - you can look at all the far-reaching consequences for something like that.

Dr. Kim Eagle - I have absolute confidence that we are setting these kids up for a better chance for health later by what we're seeing in the middle schools. You know, the challenge in front of us is daunting, but I think we've shown that we can do it, and if we move this bar we will reap the benefits of that for decades to come.

Lonias Gilmore - The Building Healthy Communities program is unique because of its partnerships and collaborations. Currently, nine organizations with statewide influence are researching and disseminating support in order to improve school environments and school culture. These organizations together bring a wealth of knowledge, expertise and technical assistance in order to support schools and to create a model for the state.

Nate McCaughtry - If you just look at the number of organizations that have been brought together over the last decade around this project, uniting a whole range of different organizations from state government, to the healthcare industry, to multiple universities, industry leaders: when you look at all the unique capacities and expertise that all of these organizations bring and incorporate into a partnership, it's no wonder that we've had so many successes.

Linda Rossi - Improving health is work that is never done. This is a program that we have a lot of commitment to and we will continue to make sure that we bring more partners on board and that we can expand the reach of the program so that we can serve more schools and more children.