Dealing with Pushback
Creating a healthy school that serves nutritious meals, teaches children about healthy eating, provides lots of opportunities for physical activity and offers access to health care services doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and dedication, but the long-term investment is huge. When kids are healthy, they excel in school. When employees participate in wellness programs, they are often more productive and take fewer days off.
Taking a coordinated approach to creating a healthy school simply makes good sense. But some may question efforts or priorities. The fact is that for every barrier, there is a solution. And one of our top priorities is keeping kids and staff healthy!
Among the Most Common Issues that Arise:
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- School district budgets are stretched thin, especially during challenging economic times. Fortunately, many of the action steps in this guide are inexpensive and provide a huge return on investment that focuses on a school district’s main mission: student achievement.[/accordion-item]
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School districts are under more pressure than ever to get results, and with good reason. The focus on improving academics competes for time and money, leaving health and wellness issues behind. A coordinated approach to healthy schools should not compete with academics; instead it should be viewed as one of the key levers to advance student performance.
- For example, research shows that school-based asthma programs can improve attendance and grades for students, especially low income urban minority youth who have higher rates of asthma than other students (Basch, 2011). Also consider this: 86 percent of Colorado voters support requiring 30 minutes of physical education each day in schools — even if it meant time was taken away from other subjects. (Source: 2009 poll commissioned by the Colorado Health Foundation).[/accordion-item]
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Some may not view health and wellness as part of the school district’s mission. The reality, however, is that it’s hard for students to concentrate on their studies if they haven’t eaten a nutritious meal, can’t see the chalkboard, or aren’t coming to school because they are not able to manage a chronic disease, like asthma or diabetes.
- According to a 2009 poll commissioned by the Colorado Health Foundation, 80 percent of Colorado voters believe that as students become more physically fit, their test scores increase and discipline problems decrease. In addition, a growing body of research actually supports this belief. Recent studies have shown that school-based physical activity programs may result in short-term cognitive benefits and improved cognitive functioning among children (Basch, 2011).[/accordion-item]
“For us, it comes down to students’ health and well-being. We know the disturbing statistics about childhood obesity, and we want to give our kids the tools they need to make good decisions about their health.”