The Healthy Schools Coalition fights for school-based efforts to combat obesity

12 May

In Childhood obesity: Recess is being cut in low-income schools moi said:

The goal of this society should be to raise healthy and happy children who will grow into concerned and involved adults who care about their fellow citizens and environment. In order to accomplish this goal, all children must receive a good basic education and in order to achieve that goal, children must arrive at school, ready to learn. There is an epidemic of childhood obesity and obesity is often prevalent among poor children. The American HeartAssociation has some great information about Physical Activity and Children

Unfortunately, many low-income children are having access to physical activities at school reduced because of the current recession.

Sandy Slater is reporting in the Education Nation article, Low-Income Schools Are Less Likely to Have Daily Recess

Here’s what we know:

Children aged six to 17 should get at least one hour of daily physical activity, yet less than half of kids aged six to 11 get that much exercise. And as kids get older, they’re even less active.

The National Association of Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) recommends that elementary school students get an average of 50 minutes of activity each school day – at least 150 minutes of PE per week and 20 minutes of daily recess.

• Kids who are more active perform better academically.

As a researcher and a parent, I’m very interested in improving our understanding of how school policies and practices impact kids’ opportunities to be active at school. My colleagues and I recently conducted a study to examine the impact of state laws and school district policies on PE and recess in public elementary schools across the country.

During the 2006 to 2007 and 2008 to 2009 school years, we received surveys from 1,761 school principals in 47 states. We found:

On average, less than one in five schools offered 150 minutes of PE per week.

Schools in states with policies that encouraged daily recess were more likely to offer third grade students the recommended 20 minutes of recess daily.

Schools serving more children at highest risk for obesity (i.e. black and Latino children and those from lower-income families) were less likely to have daily recess than were schools serving predominantly white students and higher-income students.

Schools that offered 150 minutes of weekly PE were less likely also to offer 20 minutes of daily recess, and vice versa. This suggests that schools are substituting one opportunity for another instead of providing the recommended amount of both.

Schools with a longer day were more likely to meet the national recommendations for both PE and recess.

The gap between the wealthiest and the majority is society is also showing up in education opportunities and access to basic health care.

Susan Heavey of Reuters in reporting in the article, Childhood Obesity Target Of Campaign Urging U.S. Government To Improve School Resources For Healthy Students, which was posted at Huffington Post:

A coalition of health advocacy groups on Wednesday urged the U.S. government to put more resources into school-based efforts to improve health and fight obesity among youth.

The recommendations by the Healthy Schools Campaign and Trust for America’s Health were backed by more than 70 groups including the American Cancer Society and the National Education Association.

In a report, they urged the Department of Education to offer grants to promote healthy living initiatives, fund staff training to include wellness programs, support school efforts aimed at nutrition and exercise and track results of such programs.

“The link between health and learning is clear. Healthy, active and well-nourished children are more likely to attend school, be engaged, and be ready to learn. Often, however, the school setting does not support health,” the two nonprofit groups said in their report.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan said data linking health and academic success is compelling and that schools must think creatively to work wellness into a variety of subjects.

“When you do things well, children are successful,” he said at an event to release the proposal at the National Press Club. But when they don’t get a chance to be active or are hungry “bad things happen to them.”

The proposal follows findings released earlier this week that the number of obese Americans is expected to soar without dramatic changes. More than 40 percent of U.S. adults are expected to be obese by 2030, according to a government-funded study released on Monday.

Because obesity is increasingly starting earlier in life, experts see reaching kids and teaching them healthy habits as a key step to stemming American’s growing waistline. One-third of children aged 2 to 19 are overweight or obese, statistics show.

An effort needs to be made now, the groups urged, and could be done with current Education Department funding and authority.

They said wellness should not be “relegated to an occasional health lesson or physical education class – it is part of math, science, lunch and everything in between.”

See, Groups Offer Ways for Feds to Improve Student Well-Being

The Healthy Schools Campaign works with a number of organizations. According to their site:

Health in Mind is based on a vision statement for healthy students and healthy schools. More than 70 organizations representing the nation’s education and health stakeholders have signed on to this vision. We invite you to view a list of organizations that have signed on to the Health in Mind vision here.

Their press release describes their recommendations.

Here is the press release from the Healthy Schools Campaign:

Press Release

Contact: Brittany Wright, Media and Outreach Specialist
Office: (312) 419-1810 / Mobile: (312) 560-7833

Education and Public Health Research and Advocacy Organizations Present Secretaries Duncan and Sebelius with Recommendations to Close the Achievement Gap by Addressing School Health
Health in Mind Spotlights Actionable Solutions to Urgent Education and Health Challenges

Washington, D.C., MAY 9, 2012 – Healthy Schools Campaign (HSC) and Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) today released actionable policy recommendations focused on supporting schools in addressing health and wellness in order to improve student learning and achievement. The recommendations were presented to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.

“Healthy students are better prepared to learn and succeed in school,” said Rochelle Davis, President and CEO of HSC, a national advocacy organization that focuses much of its work on improving the food and fitness environment in Chicago schools. “An increasing body of research backs up this common-sense notion. This is especially critical in light of the vast health disparities that exist in our nation. Unless we address health and wellness in schools, our nation’s efforts to close the achievement gap will be compromised.”

The recommendations, Health in Mind, note that incorporating health and wellness into school culture and environment, student services and curricula can support student health, help close the achievement gap and ensure this generation does not become the first in American history to live shorter, less healthy lives than their parents.

Two years ago, the Affordable Care Act created the National Prevention and Health Promotion Council (NPC), which brought together 17 federal cabinet agencies and offices from across the government to address prevention. The NPC released the National Prevention Strategy, which commits the entire federal government, not just the health agencies, to integrating health into their work.

T he Strategy and these recommendations represent a major culture shift in how the nation views health – health will no longer be separated from education, transportation, housing and other clearly connected policies,” said Jeff Levi, executive director of TFAH and Chair of the Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health. “Health in Mind’s focus on students and schools promises to have a long-term payoff by improving education and the quality of life for today’s kids as they grow up – they will do better in school and be healthier.”

Health in Mind focuses on several federal initiatives and policies that can broadly benefit the health, well-being and education of the nation’s students. Some of the recommendations include:

  • Prepare principals and teachers to promote student health and wellness through professional development programs and in-service training that equips them to identify and address student health issues while creating classroom and school environments that support all students’ wellness.
  • Provide schools with strategies to partner with parents as agents of change for integrating health and wellness into education.
  • Incorporate health and wellness into school metrics and accountability systems to allow schools to make data-driven decisions about how health and wellness impact student learning.
  • Incorporate health and wellness into recognition programs to motivate schools to adopt policies and practices that promote student health and wellness.
  • Increase the Department of Education’s capacity to provide leadership and guidance on integrating health and wellness into schools as a way to improve academic performance.
  • Reduce barriers that schools face when seeking reimbursement for health services delivered to Medicaid-eligible students, providing a level of funding that can increase access to health and prevention services, particularly through school nursing.
  • Re-think the role schools can play in our nation’s prevention efforts and the ways that the Department of Health and Human Services can support schools in creating the conditions for health.

Together, we can create the conditions for health and well-being in our nation’s schools,” said Gail Christopher, vice president – program strategy for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, a partner and funder of this work. “Implementing these recommendations can build on existing momentum and accomplish meaningful change that shapes children’s health and learning for a lifetime.”

At the presentation of recommendations, union leaders representing the nation’s teachers voiced support for prioritizing health in schools.

“The link between student health and student achievement is not theoretical—it is a fact.” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. “Yes, there are many educational and academic issues that we need to address. But making schools better also means that we must create environments that provide steady support for health and good nutrition.”

Our members work with students every day whose health and school conditions impede their ability to learn,” said National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel. “That’s why NEA members are taking the lead to advocate for school and learning conditions that result in a higher level of student engagement and fewer absences.”

More than 70 organizations signed on to the Health in Mind vision statement also presented at the briefing.

For more information or to view the full recommendations please visit .


Moi said in Race, class, and education in America:

Many educators have long recognized that the impact of social class affects both education achievement and life chances after completion of education. There are two impacts from diversity, one is to broaden the life experience of the privileged and to raise the expectations of the disadvantaged. Social class matters in not only other societies, but this one as well.

A few years back, the New York Times did a series about social class in America. That series is still relevant. Janny Scott and David Leonhardt’s overview, Shadowy Lines That Still Divide describes the challenges faced by schools trying to overcome the disparity in education. The complete series can be found at Social Class

To quote Yogi Berra, It’s deja vu all over again


Louisiana study: Fit children score higher on standardized tests

School dinner programs: Trying to reduce the number of hungry children                                                       

Children, body image, bullying, and eating disorders

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

2 Responses to “The Healthy Schools Coalition fights for school-based efforts to combat obesity”


  1. Report: Obesity is a public health issue « drwilda - June 6, 2012

    […] The Healthy Schools Coalition fights for school-based efforts to combat obesity                                                      … […]

  2. University of Illinois Chicago study: Laws reducing availability of snacks are decreasing childhood obesity « drwilda - August 13, 2012

    […] The Healthy Schools Coalition fights for school-based efforts to combat obesity                                         … […]

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