Tagged “Childhood Obesity”

Kristen Pekarek

September Is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity now affects 17 percent of all children and adolescents in the United States. Research shows that childhood obesity puts kids at greater risk for health problems—including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease—and, once a child enters school, can undermine classroom and overall lifetime success. Encouraging new research indicates we are making some progress to reverse this epidemic: a new report on childhood obesity shows obesity among low-income preschoolers has declined slightly in 19 states and territories, and a new report on school health shows there have been improvements in the way we teach nutrition and physical activity in schools. But there is still a lot of work to be done.

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Bob Seidel

Summer Learning Day Is a Day of Action!

Summer Learning Day, June 21, is just around the corner. It is a grassroots movement to spread awareness among parents, the public, and policymakers about the issue of summer learning loss for children. Hundreds of events will take place across the country, celebrating local programs and providing a platform for policy advocacy.

The summer learning movement is part of a whole child approach to education. Children live their lives 12 months a year, not just when school is in session. They learn less or even lose what they've previously learned if they don't have stimulating experiences during the summer. Many need, but don't get, federally-subsidized meals for nutrition and structured opportunities for healthy exercise 12 months a year.

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

No Child Should Grow Up Hungry

We are proud to welcome Share Our Strength as a whole child partner. Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign aims to end childhood hunger in the United States. It connects kids in need with nutritious food and teaches their families how to cook healthy, affordable meals. The campaign also engages the public to make ending childhood hunger a national priority.

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Michael F. Opitz

Helping Adolescents Achieve Optimal Wellness: Five Tips for Parents

Physical and nutritional fitness are in the media spotlight, and for good reason. Both help fight against obesity. As important as they are to adolescents' health, so too are social and emotional fitness. When combined, all four areas of fitness (physical, nutritional, social, and emotional) are necessary for the optimal wellness that leads to living enjoyable, fulfilling lives. I suggest using literacy as a catalyst for moving toward optimal wellness and offer these five suggestions:

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Schools Can Reverse the Sedentary Trend

Monica Lounsbery

Post submitted by Monica A.F. Lounsbery, PhD, professor and director of the Physical Activity Policy Research Program, Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition Sciences, at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

When we were growing up, when someone said physical activity they usually meant exercise, or exercise and physical activity were one and the same. That was also a time when we walked or rode our bikes everywhere, at school we had daily physical education and recess three times per day, and playing outside with neighborhood friends was the best social opportunity a kid could have. We didn't have computers or cell phones, our families had only one car, and while we had television, we only had a handful of channels. Television programs were geared mostly to adult viewers and signed off in the late evening. We had cartoons, but they were only on Saturday morning until 10:00 a.m.

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Peter DeWitt

The Importance of Movement

Have you ever had to sit in the same seat for hours at a time at a long meeting? As you looked around you saw other attendees bouncing their legs up and down because they began to get restless after sitting for such a long period of time. Then it happens! The facilitator allows a break, and people jump from their seats to get the circulation going in their bodies. Movement increases your energy level and the feelings of lethargy float away.

That feeling of sitting down and not being able to wait to get out of your seat is how students in our school systems feel every day. They sneak a walk to the water fountain or get up to go to the bathroom just so they can move their bodies. Physically, they need to get out of their seats to alleviate some of the energy that they have stored up as they sit through a lesson.

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Sean Slade

New Book Tackles Childhood Obesity and Literacy

Michael Opitz talks about linking health, wellness, activity in the classroom, and FitLit (linking literacy and fitness) in this interview about his book, Literacy Lessons to Help Kids Get Fit & Healthy.

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Healthy School Communities

Health and Learning News and Updates


Ontario Greens Its Schools: Ontario is renovating and revitalizing more than 70 schools to ensure that students have better places to learn. Schools will be getting new roofs, windows, and boilers to make schools cleaner, greener, and more suited to the needs of the community. (www.edu.gov.on.ca)

Soda on the Decline with U.S. Teens: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published a study that found fewer U.S. high school students are drinking soda on a daily basis. Water, milk, and fruit juices were reported to be the beverages most often consumed. (www.edweek.org, 6/16)

New USDA Pilot Program Offers Free Meals to All: Districts across Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee are considering taking part in the USDA's new Universal Meal Service pilot program. Schools that already provide free and reduced-price meals to at least 40 percent of their students would be eligible to extend the free meals service to all of their students under the Community Eligibility Option. (www.chicagotribune.com, 6/20)

Nebraska Students See Results from School Wellness Programs: An evaluation of Kearney Public Schools revealed that student obesity decreased by 13 percent after schools implemented various strategies to improve the health of students. Elementary students showed the greatest decline in overweight and obese students. (www.dailyjournal.net, 6/19)


Introduce SEL Practices to Your School: Whole child partner the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) now offers a resource that illustrates steps for applying social and emotional learning (SEL) approaches in schools to promote safe and healthy learning environments. (www.casel.org)

The Bully Project: The Bully Project, a soon-to-be-released documentary film by Lee Hirsch, intends to educate parents, school administrators, and young people about the impact of bullying on vulnerable youth. Watch the trailer for the film, and visit the Bully Project website for information on scheduled screenings, DVD release opportunities, and links to educational material to promote conversations about strategies for bullying prevention. (www.thebullyproject.com)

Take Action

Funding for PTA Activities That Promote Good Health: The National PTA (a whole child partner) will award up to 10 Healthy Lifestyles grants of up to $1,000 each to a PTA in good standing to promote good nutrition and regular physical activity to help address the nation's childhood obesity epidemic. Visit National PTA's Healthy Lifestyles Program for more information on eligibility and how to apply. Deadline: September 2, 2011. (www.pta.org)

Nominate an Outstanding School Counselor: Whole child partner the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) is currently accepting school counselor nominations for its 2012 School Counselor of the Year award. Nominations are due June 30, 2011. (www.schoolcounselor.org)

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


Mental Health Hotline Now Serving Students: Minnesota's largest school district, Anoka-Hennepin School District, will begin providing a mental health hotline for students and family members this summer. According to Superintendent Dennis Carlson, there is an unmet need for mental health service throughout the state. Callers to the hotline will be able to get referrals to other county services for further assistance. (Minnesota Public Radio)

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Healthy School Communities

Register Now: Healthy School Communities Virtual Conference

Register today for the first-ever Healthy School Communities Virtual Conference, May 10–13, 2011. Take part in this free online conference to learn more about health and learning. Join Healthy School Communities staff, mentor and mentee sites, ASCD authors, invited speakers, and guests to find out more about what's working across the United States and Canada and share health and learning stories, including best practices for sustainability and how to meet all areas of coordinated school health.

Session Topics:

  • Aligning health and education in school
  • Improving school lunches
  • Nutrition
  • Physical activity and physical education
  • Social/emotional and mental health
  • The Healthy School Communities model

Featured Presenters and Partners:

Healthy School Communities Mentor Sites Presenters:

Registration is FREE and will be open through the last day of the conference, May 13, 2011. Register now! Space is limited for each session. Preview the session schedule, and learn more about Healthy School Communities.

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