April 20, 2017

U.S. High Schools Tending to Student Obesity Issues

Students' Food Supervision

High schools in the USA permit students aged between 14 - 18 years for grades 9th to the 12th. While academics, students mental health and physical health can be taken care of by such schools, most of them earn a bad name due to their inadequate food provisions. In such cases, teenagers complain of being overweight and obese. There are many risks related to teen-age obesity like diet-based noncontagious diseases. In Advances in preventive Medicine, published in 2015, a survey was done on 431 school adolescents, and the result was 12.3% overweight prevalence while obesity being 4.4%.

In such serious conditions, USA high schools need to become more strict about their students’ food intake. Most schools have already begun taking major steps in this regard.

School Health Program for physical activity and nutrition 
A Coordinated School Health Program incorporates eight elements of the school community that is directed towards providing student health. Those are:

  • physical education,
  • health education,
  • nutrition services,
  • health services,
  • psychological counseling, 
  • social services,
  • healthy school atmosphere,
  • family and community co-operation

Through this program a orderly approach to nourishing student health can be taken.  This approach requires systematic assessment of data on students’ health records, sound science and understanding of loopholes and repetitiveness in school health programs, and then decision-making. In 2004, 23 state educational institutes were  funded by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to set up state-level base to execute Coordinated School Health Programs.

Appoint a school health coordinator to run a school health council
When it comes to handling and managing a school health program, a co-ordinator is required to keep every school health program, activity, policy and resources aligned. A school health council consists of members coming from various sectors of the school community, inclusive of school administrators, health care providers, teachers, students, social service activists, religious and civic bodies, and parents. The SHC guides school health coordinators and educational administrators to implement better school health activities and conduct mass meetings for school health workshops. A school health coordinator (SHC) assists the school in building a base for health activities as part of the primal goals of the school in concern and the school district. SHCs have improved school health and physical education curriculum and have aided schools and districts to bring about significant changes in school atmosphere. Few of these changes are:

  • the introduction of highly effective nutrition standards, 
  • Implementation of walking activities for students and staff, and 
  • Keeping school facilities open for physical activity workshops post-school

United States and high school communities can, through their commendable health improving activities, exhibit that health obstacles like overweight and obesity can be subdued. Only if effective plan of action can be enforced and high schools can support such actions, students’ health concerns be taken care off and can be the mental and physical health of young lives can be improved through healthy eating habits.

Written By: Jennifer Einstein
Written For: K12 Lists

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Sources: cdc.gov; hindawi.com; fooducate.com

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