girl drinking milk

Schools play an important role in helping children to be healthy and fit.  A fast growing body of research indicates that student wellness and academic learning go hand-in-hand.  Put simply, the benefits that can arise from proper nutrition and physical activity are a prerequisite to optimal learning and to avoiding and preventing chronic diseases.

This webpage will provide free tools and messages for creating a culture of wellness in your school or organization.  We will also post documents and reports related to creating a culture of wellness.  The first such report is called: The Wellness Impact: Enhancing Academic Success through Healthy School Environments.

Sacrificing physical education for classroom time does not improve academic performance.

Reports

Fit Healthy, and Ready to Learn

A School Healthy Policy Guide from the National Association of State School Boards.   Rarely is a policymaker presented with an opportunity to promote a Win-Win-Win policy initiative encouraging more physical activity and physical education in schools. This guide provides information on the Healthy Benefits of Lifelong Physical Activity, The Current Trends in Student Physical Activity, The Status of School based Physical Activity, and What Leaders Can Do.

The Wellness Impact: Enhancing Academic Success through Healthy School Environments. 

Gen Youth Foundation- This report addresses why schools play a more important role than ever in helping forge the nation’s future. It illuminates the vital importance of improved nutrition and increased physical activity in creating an environment that enriches students’ readiness to learn.

The Learning Connection– U.S. Surgeon General, David Satcher and Action for Healthy Kids

What you need to know to ensure your kids are healthy and ready to learn is covered in this report.  About 1/2 of children who are in kindergarten today will be obese adults in the future unless we take action.  What we should do is covered in the report we tell us we need to improve kids’ nutrition and get them moving so that children are ready to learn.

The Association Between School-Based Physical Activity, Including Physical Education, and Academic Performance

Centers for Disease Control-When children and adolescents participate in the recommended level of physical activity—at least 60 minutes daily—multiple health benefits accrue. Most youth, however, do not engage in recommended levels of physical activity. Schools provide a unique venue for youth to meet the activity recommendations, as they serve nearly 56 million youth. At the same time, schools face increasing challenges in allocating time for physical education and physical activity during the school day.

All Work and No Play– Public Agenda commissioned by The Wallace Foundation

Listening to What Kids and Parents say about What They Want From Out-of-School Time. “For the first time, national surveys of parents and of middle- and high-school aged children present these missing voices. What they have to say is, at turns, reassuring and alarming, predictable and surprising.”

National Physical Activity Play:  Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program (CSPAP)

Policy is an important component supporting efforts to infuse physical activity into the school setting. The policy continuum aims to identify meaningful steps toward implementing Physical Activity Components within a Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program.

Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program Policy Contin
Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program Policy Contin
Comprehensive-School-Physical-Activity-Program-CSPAP.pdf

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Kids who are more physically fit perform better academically.

Fact Sheets

Health and Academics– CA Project Lean (multiple facts sheets on a variety of other health issues)

The school food and physical activity environment play a large role in the foods students eat and the amount of physical activity they engage in. An important step to help youth eat better and increase their physical activity is to improve the food and physical activity environment in their schools.

Let’s Move California After School Fact Sheet – California After school Network

After school programs are a perfect time and the place to ensure that youth are fit, healthy, and ready to learn. The fact sheet provides seven simple tips for afterschool program directors to create high-quality programs and an organizational culture of health!

 

Research Articles

Nutrition and student performance at school.  Journal of School Health. 2005;75(6):199-213.

Food insufficiency is a serious problem affecting children’s ability to learn, but its relevance to US populations needs to be better understood. Research indicates that school breakfast programs seem to improve attendance rates and decrease tardiness. Among severely undernourished populations, school breakfast programs seem to improve academic performance and cognitive.

 

An important step to help youth eat better and increase their physical activity is to improve the food and physical activity environment in their schools.

Articles

A Culture of Physical Activity in Schools: Everyone’s Responsibility  Francesca Zavacky, NEA Health Information Network

Over the last 30 years, there has been a shift in thinking about whether physical education and physical activity have a place in school. Childhood obesity has been on the rise, and yet the inclusion of physical education, physical activity, and recess in schools has been declining, with school leaders divided about the role of schools in supporting the health of our youth.

 

Organizations Supporting School Wellness

The Whole Child Initiative– Association of Staff and Curriculum Development (ASCD)

Each child, in each school, in each of our communities deserves to be healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. That’s what a whole child approach to learning, teaching, and community engagement really is.

Tools

Policy in Action: A Guide to Implementing Your Local School Wellness Policy – Project Lean and Center for Weight and Health

Through out the country, efforts are underway to make schools healthier places to learn. In response to poor nutrition in schools, sedentary behavior, a lack of physical activity and rising youth obesity rates, federal, state and local agencies are requiring health- oriented school policies that aim to impact students’ eating and physical activity behaviors.

Playing Smart: A Joint Use Toolkit– KaBoom and Change Lab Solutions

Schools and city recreation departments sharing limited physical activity space makes sense especially in this time of limited resources. This toolkit helps you to craft Joint Use Agreements.

School Wellness Policy Best Practices– Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction

School Wellness Policy Best Practices for Policy Development, Implementation and Evaluation is designed to help schools implement the requirements of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. Throughout the toolkit, you will find best practice examples of the great things schools across Washington are doing to improve nutrition and physical activity.

Resources

Increasing Physical Activity Before, During and After School

Active Living Research Report:  Moving More At School Resources

Schools play a critical role in helping children lead active, healthy lives. Physical education (PE) classes, recess, after-school programs, and walking or biking to school all have the potential to get kids moving. (RWJF)

ALR MovingMoreAtSchool
ALR MovingMoreAtSchool
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Would you like a handout of this article?  Download below.

School Tools for a Culture of Wellness
School Tools for a Culture of Wellness
School-Tools-Wellness-F-10-2017.pdf
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Free Materials

We Can.  Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity and Nutrition NIH- A Health Education Curriculum for Kids 2-5.

 

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