Want to help your child’s school be healthier? The average kid spends nearly 12,000 hours in school, from kindergarten through 12th grade. That’s a big chunk of time during which he or she can develop good (or bad) health habits. Happily, many Indy schools today are recognizing the many benefits of a healthy head start. Often school nurses, like those at HealthNet’s eight school-based clinics, lead the way.
Health magazine recently recognized 10 schools across the nation that are doing an A+ job. Education officials in every state were asked for school nominations based on food and nutrition, fitness and activity, health education, and healthy building materials and practices.
Top honors went to New York’s West Babylon Senior High. There, the assistant principal walks through the cafeteria peddling a basket of fruit. All soda machines have been removed, so the only drinks available are water, milk, and fruit juice. The cafeteria features healthy choices, like wraps and yogurt, and has replaced fryers with state-of-the-art ovens. Students lead the school’s wellness council and conduct only healthy fund-raisers. No more candy sales! Instead, kids sell baby carrots, sugar-free gelatin, raisins, and nuts.
As a result, the student obesity rate dropped 2% in just one school year—and continues to decline. And, West Babylon is particularly proud of its new physical education curriculum that focuses on overall wellness, social skills, and lifetime and adventure activities – appealing to even the least-athletic students.
Make your own school healthier. Try some of these healthy ideas at your school!