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School health profile

The Daily Record - 1/5/2020

As we start the new year it might be a good time to take a look back at the newly released Centers for Disease Control’s School Health Profile 2018. As with most national data it takes a while to collect and put this kind of information into a readable, concise form. Nonetheless, it is important.

The report looked at all 50 states and what they were doing to promote healthy choices and lifestyles in their student populations from 2008 to 2018. The results may interest you.

Significant improvements were detected in the following specific areas. Across the states the median percentage of schools that taught a required health education course in 9th grade increased from 57.2% to 75.4%. This included increases in the median percentage of schools in which teachers tried to increase student knowledge, through a required course, in any of the grades 6 through 12 on suicide prevention (72.8% increased to 83.5%) and violence prevention (90.1% increased to 93.0%).

Across the states, the median percentage of schools in which the health education teacher worked with mental health or social services staff increased from 62.1% to 71.2%. Teacher education and development increases were found in the median percentage of schools on emotional and mental health (38.3% to 57.1%) and suicide prevention (29.5% to 54.9%).

Across the states, increases were found in the median percentage of schools in which the lead health education teachers received professional development on teaching students with physical, medical, or cognitive disabilities (40.6% to 52.4%); teaching students of various cultural backgrounds (34.8% to 51.2%); teaching students with limited English proficiency (22.5% to 42.4%); using interactive teaching methods (53.0% to 58.2%); encouraging family or community involvement (32.4% to 42.1%); teaching skills for behavior change (45.0% to 52.2%); and classroom management techniques (53.3% to 64.2%).

Awareness across states found a change in snacks available in schools. The median percentage of schools that did not sell candy, baked goods that are not low in fat, salty snacks that are not low in fat, soda pop or fruit drinks that are not 100% juice, or sports drinks in vending machines or at the school store, canteen, or snack bar increased from 36.6% to 53.7%. Across the states increases were also found in the median percentage of schools that were providing information to students or families on the nutrition and caloric content of food available (48.5% to 56.7%). This was joined by the median percentage of schools in which health education teachers, in a required course, taught about decreasing sedentary activities for students increased from 88.6% to 92.0%.

Children spend about one-third of their day at school or in school related activities. What goes on at school is important to them as individuals and to your family.

This study will give you insight into what is going on with your child when you are away from one another. You may fix nutritious meals, but what is your child eating at school? Does your school have the same values you do? Or have they fallen prey to vendors who pay to have their vending machines in local schools?

The study covers everything from sex education to providing condoms; alcohol use, abuse and prevention; drug use, both prescription and illegal; plus a variety of topics too numerous to list. For the complete report go to