Healthy, active students have higher attendance rates, better test scores and improved performance in their classes and beyond. I (Jennifer) recently began working for an organization called The Alliance for a Healthier Generation. As a teacher, I never thought about how what my students were eating in the cafeteria affected their performance in my classroom. I also rarely thought about their physical activity and I’m sure I called a few students back from PE to complete their work. But, like the saying: it takes a village to raise a child….it truly takes all the pieces of the puzzle fitting together to ensure that a child grows in the healthiest environment possible.
Today about 1 in 3 kids is overweight or obese. And studies show that overweight kids are likely to become overweight and obese adults. There is no single reason for the rise in childhood obesity, but there are a number of contributing factors:
- Increased television and media
- Marketing of unhealthy foods
- Limited access to healthy affordable foods
- Lack of daily physical activity
- Increased portion sizes
- Higher consumption of sugary beverages
Virginia is currently ranked as the 29th most obese state in the United States. 25.5% of adults live a lifestyle with no or irregular physical activity and adult activity is directly related to children activity.
So, how do we make our schools healthier environments? How do we break the cycles that are in place? Check out the Healthy Schools Program and sign your school up! There is an assessment with questions to answer about your school environment and once complete, it offers easy recommendations that guide you through the entire process. Small steps that can make a big impact! The Alliance also has National Content Advisors and online courses that supply all the resources you need to begin moving in the right direction. Who knows….maybe your school will be the next recognized bronze, silver, or gold school in Virginia!