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Learning and Health

School Nutrition Environment and Services

Nutrition is essential for student success. Healthy, active, and well-nourished children are more likely to attend school and are more prepared and motivated to learn. Although the primary responsibility of schools is to foster academic achievement, schools have an exceptional opportunity to guide children toward healthier lifestyles by creating a healthy nutrition environment.

The school environment should encourage all students to make healthy eating choices and be physically active throughout the school day. We know schools cannot be responsible for the health and safety of their students at all times (such as when students area at home or out in the community); however, schools can and should ensure that students learn the knowledge and skills needed to make healthy decisions. School leaders can help encourage this by helping students make healthy choices using policies and practices that create a school environment that supports clear expectations for healthy behavior by faculty and staff, as well as students.

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Learning and Health

Physical Education and Physical Activity

We know that students do better in school when they are emotionally and physically healthy. They miss fewer classes, are less likely to engage in risky or antisocial behavior, concentrate more, and achieve higher test scores. Research shows physical education programs not only improve physical fitness, but they can also benefit students by improving skill development, reinforcing self-discipline, supporting academic achievement, reducing stress, strengthening peer relationships, improving self-confidence and self-esteem, and teaching goal setting.

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Learning and Health

A New Framework for Health and Education

Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child ModelThis is not a launch that calls for health for education's sake. Nor is it education for health's sake. Rather, it is a call for health and education for each child's sake.

In 2013, ASCD and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) convened leaders from the fields of health, public health, education, and school health to develop the next evolution of school health to ensure that the health of the student, the teacher, and the school are taken seriously by educators and, in particular, by those involved in the school improvement process. The result is the 2014 launch of the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model.

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