SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — San Antonio Independent School District is taking part in a pilot digital health initiative meant to help prevent childhood obesity and related chronic illnesses.

San Antonio ISD will implement the digital initiative beginning in the new school year through physical education classes for elementary and middle school students.

Quest Diagnostics and the Social and Health Research Center (SAHRC) of San Antonio jointly developed the Bienestar/Neema Coordinated School Health Program that local children have the chance to take part in. The program is led by Dr. Roberto Treviño, M.D., who founded SAHRC in 1995 in an effort to design programs for schools to prevent early age obesity and type 2 diabetes.

“We worked with young animation creators, ages 16 to 24, in four countries and the US who brought their diverse perspectives helping us create a digital interactive platform, that is engaging for the diverse populations that we are reaching,” Treviño said. “We have already begun to see the impact of this curriculum, as young children are taking what they learn back to their families, encouraging them to make healthy choices as well. Using animation will make this program even more compelling.”

The Bienestar/Neema curriculum is planned to target more than 180,000 students in Texas, including San Antonio, and New Jersey.

“As one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States, San Antonio is committed to addressing the health needs of all of its citizens and our future generations,” said San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “We are eager to help our children develop healthy habits by moving this effort forward with SAHRC and Quest Diagnostics. I want San Antonio to serve as a healthy lifestyle model to expand this innovative and interactive animated platform across the country.”