Tagged “Childhood Obesity”

Healthy School Communities

Health and Learning News and Updates

News

Can We Really Do Without School Nurses? Education budget cuts are forcing districts to prioritize which non-mandatory programs they can do without. Unfortunately for many public schools, the school nurse may be one of the first victims of the cutbacks. According to Parenting.com, less than half of U.S. public schools have a full-time registered nurse available to students.

Partnerships Help Colorado's School Health Clinics Grow: The number of school-based health clinics is rising in Colorado, partly because of a decision by officials years ago to secure funding through partnerships with private organizations. The state first established school-based clinics in 1978 and has since seen a steady growth in the centers.

'Chefs Move to Schools' Helps Improve School Meals: A part of Michelle Obama's Let's Move initiative, the Chefs Move to Schools program brings volunteer chefs into schools to encourage healthier eating through menu changes, cooking demonstrations, and school gardens.

Resources

Little Evidence That Zero-Tolerance Discipline Policies Are Effective: A new Child Trends brief highlights rigorously evaluated, nonpunitive alternatives to zero tolerance that have shown promise in improving school safety and student outcomes. The brief, Multiple Responses, Promising Results: Evidence-Based, Nonpunitive Alternatives to Zero Tolerance, also finds a lack of rigorous research on the effectiveness of zero-tolerance school discipline policies and that the existing research shows no evidence that these policies decrease school violence.

Prepare for Children's Mental Health Awareness Day 2011: National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day is a day to join the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), communities, organizations, agencies, and individuals nationwide in raising awareness that positive mental health is essential to a child's healthy development from birth. This year, the national theme will focus on building resilience in young children dealing with trauma.

Take Action

Save the Date for the Inaugural Healthy School Communities Virtual Conference: Please join us May 10–13, 2011, for the first-ever Healthy School Communities Virtual Conference. Take part in this free online conference to learn more about health and learning. Topics will include:

  • Aligning health and education in the school setting;
  • Improving school lunches and nutrition;
  • Physical activity and physical education across the school day;
  • Social, emotional, and mental health;
  • Staff wellness; and the
  • Healthy School Communities (HSC) model.

Join HSC staff, mentor and mentee sites, ASCD authors, invited speakers, and guests to find out more about what's working across the U.S. and Canada and share health and learning stories. Check back on April 19 for registration information. Space is limited.

Show Your Support for Healthy School Meals: Ensuring that schools offer only healthy foods and beverages is critical for reversing the childhood obesity epidemic and safeguarding the health of U.S. children. The Kids' Safe and Healthful Foods Project, a new initiative launched by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts, will support efforts to improve the nutritional quality and safety of school foods. Ensuring that provisions of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act are rigorously enforced is a primary focus of the two-year project.

Through April 13, U.S. Department of Agriculture is seeking public comment on its proposed changes. Comments can be conveniently shared through the Kids' Safe and Healthful Foods Project website.

Tools for Providing Active Physical Education: Participate in the next SPARK webinar, and learn why active physical education is so important (and how to assess it), strategies for achieving it, and where to go for resources that support HOPE (Health Optimizing Physical Education). This free 45-minute webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, April 20, 2011, at 3 p.m., PDT/6 p.m., EDT. Register now!

ASCD Is Accepting Proposals for the 2012 Annual Conference: ASCD is encouraging members of the education community to submit proposals for next year's ASCD Annual Conference and Exhibit Show. The event will be held March 24–26 in Philadelphia, Penn. Proposals are due May 12, 2011.

ASCD's Outstanding Young Educator Award: ASCD is seeking nominations for the Outstanding Young Educator Award (OYEA), which recognizes a teacher who is developing and using best practices to ensure all children are healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged in his or her school or district. Maximum award: $10,000. Eligibility: K–12 teachers under age 40; self-nominations accepted. Deadline: Aug 1, 2011.

Healthy School Communities is a worldwide ASCD effort to promote the integration of health and learning and the benefits of school-community collaboration. It is part of a large, multiyear plan to shift public dialogue about education from a narrow, curriculum-centric and accountability system focus to a whole child approach that encompasses all factors required for successful student outcomes. Visit the Healthy School Communities group on ASCD EDge and share everything from ideas and solutions to common concerns.

Healthy School Communities

Health and Learning News and Updates

News

Pennsylvania School Is on Guard Against Unhealthy Eating Habits: The William D. Kelley School in Philadelphia is taking a comprehensive approach to battling obesity by banning soda and sweet snacks and emphasizing healthy eating in the curriculum. In addition, the principal and parents have asked nearby stores to stop selling junk food to children in the morning so they will eat a healthier breakfast.

Read more »

Healthy School Communities

Health and Learning News and Updates

News

Food Experts Urge Parents, Schools to Get Tough About Nutrition: Experts in food politics are taking parents and schools to task for not being more aggressive about providing healthy foods for children, saying students do not necessarily need to have a say in what goes on the menu and that the school lunch line should not mimic a fast-food restaurant. "Renegade lunch lady" and author Ann Cooper, speaking at the Natural Products Expo, criticized the organic industry for making candy, corn dogs, and other unhealthy snacks.

Read more »

Healthy School Communities

Health and Learning News and Updates

News

Educators See Advantages of Structured Recess for Students: Organized recess improves students' participation, behavior, and focus in the classroom, according to a nationwide survey conducted by California nonprofit Playworks. The structured playtime involves organized activities that promote nonviolent themes, such as games of tag that involve tapping fingers rather than slapping. Educators in Philadelphia, where 83 schools have structured recess, say the Playworks program gives students a positive outlet for excess energy.

Schools Vary in Approaches to Healthy Meals: California school districts approach healthy lunches for students in different ways, depending on the cost of the program, income levels, and foods common to the culture, according to this article. Orinda Intermediate School offers organic vegetables, jasmine rice, and Jamba Juice for its students with sophisticated palates, while West Oakland Middle School is working to use less meat, more whole grains, and scratch cooking but has seen some resistance from students.

San Francisco Schools Make It Easier for Students to Grab Breakfast: Schools in San Francisco are using a federal grant to expand "grab-and-go" breakfast programs that allow students to quickly pick up healthy foods, including fruit and cereal, as they head to class. Data found that many California children qualify for free or reduced-price school meals, but few take advantage of breakfast because the meals are served in the cafeteria and the students are often short on time.

Resources

Becoming A Man (B.A.M.): Youth Guidance's Becoming a Man program, or B.A.M., which is currently offered at Roberto Clemente High School in Chicago, Ill., is an evidence-based violence prevention and mentoring program that nurtures and develops social, emotional, and behavioral skills in young male students considered to be "at-risk" and vulnerable to gang violence. Watch a video about B.A.M. to learn more about the educational enrichment the program provides.

Health and Nutrition Teacher Resources: View up to five free lesson plans and classroom activities that teach a variety of health and nutrition topics for K–12 students, available in printer-friendly formats at TeacherVision.com. Many lessons are designed to be integrated into core subjects and engage learners.

Take Action

Vote for the Best Healthy School Lunch Recipes: A website lets users vote through May 15, 2011, for the best school lunch recipes from the USDA's Healthy Kids competition. Schools, chefs, and students were challenged to come up with healthy recipes that meet nutrition standards in the categories of whole grains, dry beans and peas, and dark green and orange vegetables.

Let's Move in School's National Physical Education and Sport Week: Register your school to host a Let's Move in School (LMIS) celebration during National Physical Education and Sport Week (May 1–7). Schools that register by March 28, 2011, will have a chance to win a visit from a member of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition. The first 10,000 schools to register will receive a LMIS poster.

Healthy School Communities is a worldwide ASCD effort to promote the integration of health and learning and the benefits of school-community collaboration. It is part of a large, multiyear plan to shift public dialogue about education from a narrow, curriculum-centric and accountability system focus to a whole child approach that encompasses all factors required for successful student outcomes. Visit the Healthy School Communities group on ASCD EDge and share everything from ideas and solutions to common concerns.

Healthy School Communities

Health and Learning News and Updates

News

Prohibition or Modeling of Good Nutrition?: In an online article, author Hank Cardello compares prohibition of selling junk food in schools to the nationwide prohibition of alcohol consumption in the 1920s. He claims that schools are wasting their efforts on an idea that won't work and only opens up the opportunity for black market candy selling. While this comparison seems a bit of a stretch, do you think Cardello has missed the point about the role of schools in modeling, teaching, and providing good nutrition? Or do you agree with Cardello's viewpoint that completely eliminating these foods doesn't teach students anything? Share your thoughts on ASCD EDge.

Read more »

Healthy School Communities

Health and Learning News and Updates

News

Washington District's School Lunches Get a Healthy Upgrade with Fresh Foods: Washington State's Vashon Island School District gave cafeteria workers cooking lessons so they could prepare meals using fresh, locally grown ingredients and serve food the day it is made. Chef Tom French of the Experience Food Project, who is behind the healthy-food makeover, says schools also need to market the changes to students so they buy into the program.

Mobile Dental Clinic Reaches Underserved Children: After a child died from having an infected tooth and no access to dental care, one dentist was inspired to start a mobile dental clinic that serves poor children without access to dental care at their schools in Prince George's County, Md. The Deamonte Driver Dental Van's mission is to prevent other children from dying from untreated tooth decay.

Baltimore Schools Nutrition Chief Shares Successful Programs: Baltimore (Md.) public schools' food and nutrition director, Tony Geraci, is traveling around the United States to promote nutrition education and healthy-food programs, such as the Great Kids Farm, that have worked in his city. The district has overhauled its food-service program so that nearly all produce included in the student-designed school menus comes from Maryland farms.

No Free Lunch: The National School Lunch Program requires participating schools to provide nourishing meals for all students. Lately, however, more kids are showing up to school with no money to pay for meals. To accommodate these children, most schools provide an "alternate meal" that covers the bare minimum nutritional requirements—usually a cheese or peanut butter sandwich and a four-ounce box of juice or milk—which is paid for by increasing the regular price for kids who can pay. The slim offerings are expected to recruit more families who need financial help to apply for free and reduced-price meals for their children. The increased enrollment helps to lower the direct costs to the school, allowing the federal government to pick up more of the tab. How might the new mandate for schools to improve the nutritional quality of food affect schools' drive to increase free and reduced-price meals enrollment rates? Read more.

Resources

Social-Emotional Learning in Schools Makes a Difference: The peer-reviewed journal Child Development has published the first large-scale metaanalysis of school-based social and emotional learning (SEL) programs. The research findings can be used as evidence of the positive effect of SEL on healthy child development.

Take Action

ASHA Extends Its Conference Proposal Deadline: Got a health-related teaching technique to share? How about evaluation findings of a school-based program or intervention? Consider submitting a proposal to present at whole child partner the American School Health Association's (ASHA) 85th annual conference this year in Louisville, Ky., October 12–15. The proposal submission deadline has been extended to March 31, 2011.

Consider Writing for Educational Leadership: Showcase your school community's success in making students and staff feel safe, valued, and connected by writing for Educational Leadership magazine. The theme for the September 2011 issue is "Promoting Respectful Schools." Review the guidelines for submission and the theme description:

Students who feel safe, valued, and hopeful in school are more likely to learn. This issue will explore how schools can promote respect for self and others—in both students and teachers. Which programs reduce bullying and promote respectful relationships? How can schools address prickly issues related to race, culture, and religion and teach such crucial skills as empathy and cultural sensitivity? We're interested in articles from teachers who are making classrooms safe places where students can learn from mistakes and articles from school leaders who are making staff feel valued and supported. We welcome international contributions and real-life stories of how schools have created physically, emotionally, and intellectually respectful learning environments.

Deadline: April 1, 2011

Healthy School Communities is a worldwide ASCD effort to promote the integration of health and learning and the benefits of school-community collaboration. It is part of a large, multiyear plan to shift public dialogue about education from a narrow, curriculum-centric and accountability system focus to a whole child approach that encompasses all factors required for successful student outcomes. Visit the Healthy School Communities group on ASCD EDge and share everything from ideas and solutions to common concerns.

Healthy School Communities

Health and Learning News and Updates

News

Raising Awareness and Reducing the Stigma of HIV: The entire senior class at Urban School in San Francisco, Calif., has taken on a group project that involves each student getting tested at school for HIV. The students hope to increase participation in and awareness of sexually active high school youth getting tested. Read more.

Read more »

Healthy School Communities

Health and Learning News and Updates

News

Oklahoma High School Parents and Principal Frown at New School Lunch Guidelines: Not everyone seems pleased with the new efforts to improve school nutrition. Some critics say that the new guidelines will cost schools money when it's not certain students will even eat the healthier choices. Without buy-in from some parents, principals, and even students, how likely is it that the USDA's nutrition standards are going to have an effect? Comment on ASCD EDge.

Read more »

Klea Scharberg

Physical Activity and Physical Education Roundup

Many U.S. schools and districts have minimized or eliminated health and physical education programs; reduced the number of school nurses, counselors, and other health professionals; and focused on "the basics," largely in response to No Child Left Behind (NCLB). 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, so how do we reconcile children's developmental needs and schools' diminishing resources and focus on testing?

For the last two months, we looked at why physical activity and physical education are crucial to ensuring that students are healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. We examined the research about the need for physical activity and physical education; explored some of the recent criticism; examined the relationship between physical activity and physical education and academic achievement, engagement, and social and emotional health and learning; and considered how physical activity can be expanded across the day.

Listen to the Whole Child Podcast with moderator Sean Slade, director of ASCD Healthy School Communities, and guests Charles Basch, Richard March Hoe Professor of Health Education at Columbia University; Charlene Burgeson, executive director of the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE)—a whole child partner—and Let's Move in School; and George Svejda, a physical education teacher at Sargent Shriver Elementary in Montgomery County, Md.

Question why children are less active today: is it because of increased traffic, neighborhoods with fewer parks, and cuts in school recess as the researchers suggest? How much physical activity per day is recommended for children and teenagers?

Learn the facts about child obesity from Whole Child Partner SPARK. What does it mean if a child is obese and what is the effect on long-term health? What factors contribute to the childhood obesity epidemic?

Think about why physical activity and physical education has been reduced or eliminated in schools. Steve Jefferies, professor of physical education at Central Washington University, past president of NASPE, and the publisher of pelinks4u takes a look at whether it is our ignorance of the benefits of physical activity or our arrogance in achieving adult goals at the expense of child development.

Discuss recent criticism of physical education in schools. Why do we need physical education, physical activity, and even recess? Is it just about giving students a break from academics? Is it just about developing fitter kids who can then do better on standardized testing?

Explore integrating standards-based instruction into physical education and physical education into standards-based instruction with this example of a project-based learning project from Andrew K. Miller, an educator and consultant for the Buck Institute for Education. By engaging them in a relevant and authentic task, students see why they are learning and what they are learning.

Read about coordinated school health programs and their eight essential components—health education; physical education; school health services; counseling, psychological, and social services; nutrition; staff wellness; a healthy school environment; and family and community involvement—and one Tennessee school district's success.

Watch how one California school emphasizes personal growth and development with transfer value to leisure time activity in its physical education program. The middle school content standards emphasize working cooperatively to achieve a common goal, meeting challenges, making decisions, and working as a team to solve problems. How does your school engage students through physical education to learn these skills?

Consider active gaming as a way to use appropriate, modern tools that children may find enjoyable and motivating and in which they will develop a desire to voluntarily be physically active. Lisa Hansen, PhD, assistant professor at the University of South Florida (USF) in the College of Education in the School of Physical Education and Exercise Science, codirector of the USF Active Gaming Research Labs, and PE Central’s Active Gaming managing editor looks at the need for student engagement—having fun—in physical activity in order to develop lifelong healthy habits.

Find ways to include and integrate physical activity and physical education in a well-rounded, whole child approach to education from Whole Child Partners NASPE, National Education Association, National Parent Teacher Association, Society of State Leaders of Health and Physical Education, and SPARK.

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter to find more resources, research, and stats, including links to

Earlier today, the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance and NASPE hosted a national Let's Move in School webinar that brought together leading education, health, and sport organizations to advance school-based physical activity. Learn more from the press release, watch the archived webinar, and get information on standards and practical resources.

Have you seen a decrease in physical activity and physical education in your school and community? What is the effect on young people in your community?

ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Ignorance or Arrogance: Depriving Children of Physical Activity in School

Steven C. Jefferies

Post submitted by Steve Jefferies, professor of physical education at Central Washington University (CWU) and past president of Whole Child Partner the National Association for Sport and Physical Education. He is also the publisher of pelinks4u, a nonprofit program sponsored by the CWU Foundation and supported by a variety of companies and organizations connected to the physical education profession. E-mail Jefferies at steve@pelinks4u.org.

A country is as strong as its citizens, and I think mental and physical health, mental and physical vigor go hand in hand.

—John F. Kennedy

Almost 50 years ago, John F. Kennedy, U.S. president and the parent of two young children, connected the strength of the nation with the need for a physically active citizenry. Sadly, this vision remains unfulfilled, and by all accounts we now face worsening health primarily as the result of sedentary living and poor diets.

In the last decade, the crisis in our schools—persistently low academic performance—has been addressed at the expense of student health. The goals of No Child Left Behind, although admirable in their intent, omitted any health or physical education requirements. Not surprisingly, many schools responded by reducing or eliminating opportunities for daily physical activity and increasing seat time focused on those "academic" subjects targeted for assessment.

Ironically, the reading, writing, math, and communication skills educators would dearly love to see increase will never be realized as long as we persist with the current dualistic perspective of body and mind. Whether we look to the Roman "sound mind, sound body" philosophy, Piaget's recognition that babies both "learn to move" and "move to learn," or our own personal life experiences, it's clear that bodies and minds starved of movement deteriorate.

Not long ago, our schools were most culpable in turning the children who showed up as "happy puppies" in kindergarten into sad old dogs by the time they graduated. Children arrived at our schools from infancy and early childhood where they were used to the joyous movement of unstructured play, only to be swiftly deconditioned by the joyless imperative to sit still. Witness the same relish of these youngsters given the chance to escape outside for recess and free their bodies from the captivity of the typical academic classroom.

Today, sadly many children no longer even arrive at kindergarten as happy puppies. Much earlier, sometimes from birth, they have been conditioned by a continuous diet of television viewing and fast food to a sedentary lifestyle. They no longer want to move. Worsening obesity is merely a symptom of this malaise. The fundamental problem that all educators need to solve is a lack of bodily movement, because this inactivity negatively impacts emotional, social, intellectual, spiritual, and, yes, physical health.

Incarcerate any human, and decline is inevitable. The simple fact is that through thousands or maybe millions of years of evolution, the human body was designed to move. Bones, muscles, and brain cells are nourished and thrive on a diet of physical movement. When the body doesn't move, it declines.

Whether through ignorance or arrogance, in today's schools we've become accustomed to allocating time for our students to move based on an arbitrarily constructed adult prescription. In elementary schools, twice a week physical education for 30 minutes at a time meets most agendas. How absurd can we be? Do adults really believe that they can specify how much movement the young, physically developing body needs to flourish? Little wonder our classrooms are full of children exhibiting behavioral problems, lacking social skills, and unfocused and disinterested in instruction.

In large part, our frustrating struggle to promote academic achievement is the consequence of our dull-witted efforts to inject learning into environments that do their best to preclude learning. But what do we do? We give them more of the same thing. Have them read longer. Make them do more math problems. Eliminate recess. We persist with the mantra "pile on the bookwork and surely they'll learn." This approach will never work with our children, and they deserve much better.

Like us, children perform well when they are healthy and happy, and they are at their happiest when they are moving.

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