Industry: Healthcare

Key Channels: Website, Email, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Video

Sanford Health Collaborates with MDR on Year-Round Youth Health Activation



Sanford Health, the largest rural, nonprofit health system in the United States, is dedicated to the integrated delivery of healthcare, genomic medicine, senior care and services, global clinics, research, and affordable insurance. Headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the organization includes 44 hospitals, 1,400 physicians, and more than 200 Good Samaritan Society senior care locations in 26 states and nine countries.

Recognizing that today’s children are increasingly inactive and overweight, Sanford Health turned to MDR to help it to combat this national health crisis through a comprehensive program that would assist teachers in promoting healthy living in their classrooms.


Part of Sanford Health’s mission is to solve this country’s critical problem of childhood obesity and inactivity. One-third of our children are overweight and approximately 17% of youth, ages 2-19, are obese. Our nation’s schools focus more on academic performance—grades and test scores—while health and physical education programs are underfunded and under-prioritized.

Uniquely positioned to support schools in extending traditional health and physical education programs, Sanford Health wants to help children develop healthy skills and behaviors that they can practice all year long throughout their lives.

Sanford Health developed its own health activation program, fit, to empower children and parents to make healthy lifestyle choices that help prevent childhood obesity. In addition, Sanford Health developed fit4Schools, a program designed to promote healthy living in the classroom. The extensive collection of classroom resources for parents, caregivers, and children uses weekly topics and challenges to introduce the keys to healthy living to primary school students.

The main challenge Sanford Health was facing in accelerating growth and adoption of fit4Schools was the ability to engage teachers in implementing the fit lessons into their classrooms. Sanford Health also wanted to reach more students through the classroom initiative, connect with more educators and families through its campaign, and promote healthful living year-round.


Sanford Health partnered with MDR to support their effort to provide more teachers, students, and parents with health education resources. Our integrated marketing solution included a new fit4Schools website, a series of contests, interactive games, and social media videos.

To kick off the campaign, MDR planned and launched a school sweepstakes to promote and incentivize teachers to participate in fit4Schools. MDR created fit4Schools social media pages and developed catchy and concise social media videos to spark creativity in classroom implementation and to engage kids. The sweepstakes and social videos were promoted to teachers across the country through a multi-channel marketing campaign including social bloggers and influencers, digital advertising, and an email campaign to 4 million K-6 teachers.

Teachers can enter the fit Commit monthly sweepstakes to win one of five prize packages with prizes such as exercise and gym equipment, games, posters, standing desks, and stability balls for their school and students. They also receive tips and strategies for encouraging kids to move more, make healthy food choices, better manage their mood, and stay focused in the classroom. Weekly lessons and fit tips help kids explore topics such as Food as Fuel, Motivation Matters, and more.


Since the program’s launch, 38,200 educators have registered for the fit4Schools program giveaway. fit4Schools has reached more than 4.4 million children and more than 12,000 schools have signed up for the sweepstakes through the campaign. In addition, the fit4Schools Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram channels have grown to over 26,000 followers, with more than 205,000 engagements across the social channels.

In a survey of teachers implementing the fit program in their classroom, nearly 9 in 10 educators say student understanding has “strongly” or “somewhat increased” for all the concepts after using the fit4Schools activities. As Sanford Health continues to collaborate with MDR to promote its fit4Schools program, more and more students are learning ways to commit to a healthy and active lifestyle.


MDR is a full-service school and community engagement partner. A division of Dun & Bradstreet, MDR is a different kind of integrated marketing services agency that combines rich data with unique digital, creative, and branding capabilities.

We’ve been connecting brands through data and marketing services to educators, youth, and parents for 50 years. Reach targeted audiences through our database and digital communities WeAreTeachers and School Leaders Now.

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MDR’s team includes top email marketing experts, social wizards, the brightest of data geeks, award-winning writers, and many former teachers. If you’re ready to get started building engagement with educators, schools, and families, contact us!

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