The school followed health guidelines set by the American Heart Association and started offering students nutritional and exercise programs, in addition to regular physical education.
St. Anthony School has a wellness committee, made up of students, faculty and parents. The committee started exercise programs and pushed for healthier meals.
"Healthier children perform better in school and studies show that children who are taking care of themselves, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, are absent less often," said Lynn Roy, a committee member and parent. "They tend to have higher graduation rates, they do better on standardized tests, and overall, they're happier children."
Teachers and faculty said they notice the positive effects on the students and their families and encourage others to participate in a healthy lifestyle.
Principal Martha Coulom encouraged other schools to try out the program.
"I would like to just tell other schools to try this. It is wonderful," Coulom said. "It's a lot of work, but it's well worth it."
Saint Anthony is one of the two schools in Central Louisiana to receive the fit friendly award. The other is in Rapides Parish and will be presented the award on Thursday.