Good health is necessary for academic success. Like adults at work, students at school have difficulty being successful if they are depressed, tired, being bullied, stressed, sick, using alcohol or other drugs, hungry, or abused.
Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. The majority of daily smokers (82%) began smoking before 18 years of age, and more than 3,000 young people begin smoking each day.
School-based programs to prevent tobacco use can make a substantial contribution to the health of the next generation. School districts across the state are becoming 100% tobacco free, prohibiting the use of tobacco by students, staff and visitors on campus and at campus events.
Research shows that there is a direct link between good nutrition and the ability to learn, play, grow and develop. Well-nourished children have higher test scores, better school attendance and fewer behavioral problems.
The school nutrition environment integrates an attractive meals program with nutrition education and an atmosphere that promotes healthy eating for lifelong benefits. Ensuring that schools offer nutritious, appealing choices whenever and wherever food and beverages are available on campus is an important policy objective.
Active Children Policy
The NC State Board of Education recommends that all elementary schools should consider the benefits of having students receive 150 minutes of physical activity per week and middle school students receive 225 minutes per week. This State Board policy also protects recess by stating that, "structured recess and other physical activity will not be taken away as a form of punishment.”
Research demonstrates that physical education instruction can increase students' knowledge, physical activity and physical fitness. Daily physical education from kindergarten through 12th grade is recommended by the American Heart Association and the National Association for Sport and Physical Education and is also a national health objective. Most North Carolina students do not receive daily physical education.
Participation in physical education may mean less time for other academic subjects due to strained school schedules, yet studies indicate that schools that offered physical education did not experience a harmful effect on standardized test scores, even though less time was available for other academic subjects.
HIV Prevention and the Curriculum
Schools containing grades 6-12 should allocate sufficient personnel time and resources to assure that policies and programs are developed and implemented with appropriate community involvement, curricula are well-planned and sequential, teachers are well-trained, and up-to-date teaching methods and materials about AIDS are available. In addition, it is crucial that sufficient classroom time be provided at each grade level to assure that students acquire essential knowledge appropriate for that grade level, and have time to ask questions and discuss issues raised by the information presented.
For more information about school health, visit the NC Healthy Schools website.