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Philadelphia 4th Grader Wins HPF Healthy Advances Award

Claudia Pyatigorsky Highlights Dangers of Heavy Backpacks at Carver Science Fair

Elementary GWCSF Web ThumbnailPhiladelphia, PA — Young student’s heavy backpacks can cause back and muscle injuries that last a lifetime.  MaST Community Charter student Claudia Pyatigorsky was awarded the Health Partners Foundation Healthy Advances award for her research and solution  regarding this important health issue, during this year’s George Washington Carver Science Fair at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.

The fourth grader’s experiment, “Is your Backpack too Heavy?” was based on a random sampling of her fellow schoolmates, ranging from kindergarten through fourth grade. She found that many students’ backpacks “greatly exceed” the recommended guidelines – 15 percent of a child’s body weight. As a solution, Claudia suggested that heavier textbooks be made available online or in e-book format, reducing the weight of backpacks and the risk of body and muscle injures.

“There were many great projects, but I think Claudia’s experiment focused on an issue that could affect our communities — especially young Health Partners Plans members,” said Mark Johns, director of systems design and development at Health Partners Plans and volunteer judge and member of the Carver Committee. “This was Claudia’s first science fair, and I look forward to seeing great things from her in the future.”

The Health Partners Foundation has supported the George Washington Carver Science Fair — the oldest of its kind in the country — for the past 16 years. It encourages urban youth to pursue academic excellence, civic involvement and careers in science. The Health Partners Foundation Healthy Advances award is given to a student whose project best promotes healthy living. Both Claudia and her school received a monetary award.

The Health Partners Foundation supports low-income communities in Philadelphia and surrounding counties with educational programs, scholarships, emergency assistance and more.  A 501c3 nonprofit organization, the Foundation was founded by and continues to be funded by our employees as well as vendors and friends of Health Partners Plans who share our commitment to offering a helping hand in disadvantaged communities.