What Schools Can Do about Childhood Obesity

Why should schools get involved?

Four of every ten kids in central Indiana struggle with overweight and obesity. National surveys find that 74% of high school students don’t get enough daily physical activity, 39% eat less than one serving of fruit per day, 41% eat less than one vegetable per day, and theat kids spend, on average, more than seven hours per day engaged with electronics – it’s clear there’s significant work to do to revers the rising trend of obesity. That’s why schools are so important to the effort.

Kids from Sunny Heights elementary school learn about physical activity and conflict resolution from Playworks

Schools reach most kids, and healthy kids achieve more

Most children over the age of five in Indiana spend at least 6.5 hours a day, 180 days a year in school – for 13 years – so what students eat, do, see, hear, and learn at school have significant impact not just on their academic achievement, but on their behaviors around nutrition and physical activity.

Just as important, schools have much to gain by prioritizing student health. We know that physically-active and well-nourished students have better concentration, exhibit fewer behavior problems, and perform better in reading, writing, and math.

Girls select fresh food

School-wide goals

Here are some of the ways that schools can supprt health and wellness. Follow the links to learn how to implement these goals:

* Serve breakfast

* Employ smarter lunchroom techniques

* Stock healthy vending machines

* Host school celebrations that are healthy and fun

* Ensure that all kids actively participate in daily recess

* Use P.E. class to inspire lifelong fitness, meet daily activity goals

* Recruit parents to actively participate on the School Wellness Committee

* Strengthen your School Wellness Policy

* Promote healthy habits to students, their families, and school employees

Support makes a difference

Kids show off the Healthiest Cities award

Jump IN’s research indicates schools that receive some level of technical assistance have more success in implementing their wellness policies than schools that lack assistance. That’s where our Jump Right UP program comes in.

* Starting out on the fast track: Warren schools take big steps toward wellness

* Appreciating teachers for their commitment to wellness

* The Kindness Challenge at Eagle Creek Elementary

* Pike High School: Challenging staff to lead healthier lives

* Jump IN and the Indianapolis Colts “Jump Right UP” for healthy schools

* Working toward a healthier district

*Harrison Hill Part 3: Healthy Kids