“School health is the comprehensive effort of developing, implementing, and evaluating services, both within the school and the community, that provide each and every student with the resources needed to thrive within a healthful environment” (American School Health Association [ASHA], 2014). School health is important in a student’s school and personal life.
The Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has nine guidelines for schools to follow.
- Healthy Eating and Physical Activity. Schools, community, and parents should work together to maximize healthy eating and physical activity for students.
- School Environments, which give students a safe space that encourages healthy physical activity.
- Quality School Meal Programs. The meals at school should have all of the nutrients and minerals needed. There are also several different venues where a student can get food: school stores, snack bars, vending machines, and classroom activities.
- Comprehensive Physical Activity Programs. The goal is to encourage children and adolescents to participate in 60 minutes of physical activity every day through school based activities.
- Health Education. Teachers should be teaching students about healthy eating and physical exercise that is relevant to their daily lives and experiences.
- Health, Mental Health, and Social Services. This guideline ensures students have access to health, mental health, and social services while on school grounds. Service providers should also provide leadership when it comes to these topics.
- Partnering with Families and Community Members. When it comes to the health of the students, it all starts and is practiced in the homes and surrounding communities. Help families implement activities that promote healthy eating and physical activity (CDC, 2021a).
- School Employee Wellness Programs. These focus on encouraging employees to be physically active and practice better eating habits (CDC, 2021b).
- Certified and Qualified Staff, which involves hiring educators who are qualified to teach about nutrition, physical exercise, and mental health. Offer annual learning opportunities to staff (CDC, 2021a).
Ensuring your child is getting all nine of the CDC requirements leads to a whole and healthier child. As stated in guideline seven, it is important to speak with your child about what health is and how you can implement a healthier lifestyle in your home. This not only helps the child be healthier, but shows the importance of health throughout their whole life (ASHA, 2014).
American School Health Association (ASHA). (2014). What is School Health? https://www.ashaweb.org/about/
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2021a). School Health Guidelines. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/npao/strategies.htm
CDC (2021b). Components of The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC). https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/wscc/components.htm
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