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THE LEARNING CONNECTION: The Value of Improving Nutrition and Physical Activity in Our Schools Presented by Presenters Presenters Title Washington Action.

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Presentation on theme: "THE LEARNING CONNECTION: The Value of Improving Nutrition and Physical Activity in Our Schools Presented by Presenters Presenters Title Washington Action."— Presentation transcript:

1 THE LEARNING CONNECTION: The Value of Improving Nutrition and Physical Activity in Our Schools Presented by Presenters Presenters Title Washington Action For Healthy Kids Date

2 2 Overview of the Problem The majority of American youth are sedentary and do not eat well. These unhealthy practices lead to health and learning problems. It is critical to bring to our attention that there are costs to poor nutrition and physical inactivity….costs on health and, importantly, costs to our schools.

3 3 The Facts Only 2% of school-aged children consume the recommended number of servings from all food groups More than 80 percent of children and adolescents eat too much total fat and 90 percent eat too much saturated fat Fewer than one in four American children get 30 minutes or more of physical activity per dayand more than three in four get no more than 20 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week 9 million school-aged children and adolescents are overweight to a degree that directly affects their health (16% national average)

4 4 Schools Can Make A Difference Some schools practices and policies can aggravate students health and can interfere with their readiness to learn Evidence suggests that addressing students health can help schools to meet performance goals and alleviate financial constraints Schools play a critical role in helping students and themselves by addressing nutrition and physical activity By collaborating with many stakeholders, schools can take immediate action that will help to address these issues.

5 5 Connection to Learning Poor nutrition has a negative impact on learning –Undernourished children attain lower scores on standardized tests, are more irritable, have difficulty concentrating and have less ability to resist infection and may miss more school –Well nourished students who skip breakfast perform worse on tests and have poor concentration –Poor nutrition and hunger interfere with cognitive function and are associated with lower achievement

6 6 Connection to Learning Being physically active has a positive impact –One study linked physical activity to stronger academic achievement, increased concentration, and improved math, reading, and writing scores. –Another study found that students participating in daily physical education exhibit better attendance, a more positive attitude toward school, and superior academic performance. –Physical activity among adolescents is consistently related to higher levels of self-esteem and lower levels of anxiety and stresseach of which has been associated with better academic performance. –Moderate physical activity has positive impact on immune function…this can help to prevent colds and flu.

7 7 A More Tenuous Link Evidence of a direct effect of weight on achievement is less conclusive, however emerging research shows an association. –A 2003 JAMA study found that severely overweight children and adolescents were 4 times more likely than healthy children and adolescents to report impaired school functioning –A 2004 study of 11,192 kindergartners found that overweight children had significantly lower math and reading test scores at the beginning of the year than did their non-overweight peers, and that these lower scores continued into first grade.

8 8 Overweight and Learning Associations between weight problems and achievement do not imply causation, as there are a number of relating factors Underlying cause of overweight -- poor nutrition and inactivity -- affect learning Being overweight can impact a students health and leads to increased absenteeism Overweight children face more psychological problems and studies show these students may be victims of bullying or be bullies…this can interfere with readiness to learn

9 9 Economic Strains on Schools Comprehensive analysis to evaluate the impact of poor nutrition, inactivity and increasing number of overweight students on schools ability to manage within its budget has not been conducted. However, there are subtle and indirect ways that these factors are taking an economic toll on our schools –Reduced state funding –Indirect/hidden costs

10 10 Reduced State Funding In nine states, that collectively serve more than one- third of all students in the U.S., state funding for schools is determined by the number of students that show up for school – average daily attendance. In these states, a single-day absence by one student can cost a school district between $9 - $20 dollars. This adds up quickly – to estimate the potential cost of poor nutrition, inactivity and weight problems might pose on these districts, The Finance Project made projections based on percent of American children that are overweight to a degree that affects their health (16%)

11 11 Costs of the Status Quo Current practices and policies include selling and promoting low-nutrient, high-calorie foods in an attempt to generate revenue Some school practices and policies have cut back on physical education, recess and other physical activity opportunities to increase classroom time as a way to boost achievement These strategies are not proven to meet those objectives and, unknowingly, are counterproductive

12 12 Nutrition Practices Today Research shows that selling competitive foods can drive students to these foods and beverages and away from the school meal programs Schools can help their budgets via reimbursements from participating in school lunch and breakfast programs If students are not participating, dollars from reimbursement decrease Finances could improve by increasing participation in these programs And, studies do indicate children that consumer school meal program have better nutrient consumption

13 13 Physical Activity Practices The National Association for Sport and Physical Educations recommends elementary schools offer 225 minutes of physical education per week and that secondary schools offer 150 minutes per week However, just 8 percent of elementary schools, 6.4 percent of middle/junior high schools, and 5.8 percent of senior high schools provide daily physical education. Increasingly, schools have reported cutting back or not increasing programs to meet these recommendations in order to give more class time to reading and math

14 14 The Bottom Line It is in schools own interest to address these issues discussed. Solutions lie in partnerships and collaborations AFHK is dedicated to improving childrens health and their readiness to learn through better nutrition and physical activity in schools Private public partnership with thousands of volunteers on state teams and over 40 national organizations representing education, health, fitness and nutrition

15 15 Our Vision Schools provide an environment that fosters the development of lifelong habits of good nutrition and physical activity for all children Our aim is to: –Enhance the learning potential of all children, –Slow the rate of increase in overweight and obesity, –Increase efforts that lead to the prevention of overweight and obesity among youth.

16 16 Actions Schools Can Take Form a school health advisory council Develop a comprehensive wellness policy Integrate physical activity and nutrition into the school day Incorporate nutrition and physical activity into after school programs Encourage staff to model healthy lifestyles

17 17 We must understand this important truth: that improving childrens health likely improves school performance. It may even help a schools bottom line.

18 18 Actions School Districts Can Take Develop a comprehensive wellness policy for schools in your district Develop a district level school health advisory council Keep nutrition and physical activity on the agenda at your local, district, and state school boards Contact your AFHK State Team or visit our website for resources and to learn more

19 19 Actions Individuals Can Take Now!!!! Join your AFHK State Team!!!! Be an advocate for better nutrition and physical activity in your local school. Spread the Word!!!!! Dont keep this information to yourself. Share this information and encourage others to get involved.

20 20 Schools Must Be Part of the Solution Why are schools so important? Children and teens spend 2,000 hours each year at school Feeding programs are already in place Schools are a great equalizer –all children have equal access to information about nutrition and physical activity Schools have an opportunity to create the type of environment that students are being taught in the classroom

21 21 AFHK Approach Establish State and National coalition Private-public partnerships Produce programs and projects for state teams to help schools adopt CTC goals Assess actions Determine what works, under what conditions Identify models Communicate Findings & tools Stimulate more schools to change Recognize successes This will result in children developing Positive eating and activity patterns Healthy schools, healthy children and healthy communities

22 22 Focus on Commitment to Change Serves as framework for planning & action Collaboration of multi-discipline group essential for success Details specific actions necessary to create healthy schools that promote sound nutrition & physical activity –Increasing health, physical & nutrition education –Increasing physical activity (recess, PE, after school) –Ensuring health promoting foods are available throughout the school environment

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