According to the Centers for Disease Control about two-thirds of all deaths in the United States and a large number of illnesses, suffering, and financial costs are due to heart disease, cancer, and stroke. Just a small number of health-risk behaviors contribute enormously to these major causes of death and illness. These health-risk behaviors include tobacco use, poor dietary patterns, and physical inactivity. Most of these behaviors are established during our youth and stay with us into our adult lives. They are, however, preventable.
The best prevention efforts will come when we re-define school health. In the past, school health was thought of as services from a school nurse, a physical education class and a health class or two. Today the definition of school health has broadened to include school nutrition services, student guidance and counseling, the physical and emotional school environment, staff wellness, and parents and community as partners.
“Schools have a wealth of potential for ensuring the future well-being of young people. You can’t educate a child who isn’t healthy, and you can’t keep a child healthy who isn’t educated.”
– M. Joycelyn Elders, MD
The Coordinated School Health Program (CSHP) model was designed to connect the dots so that all children and youth will be fit and ready to learn. This 8-component model not only provides children and youth with the education and services they need but also involves and cares for those who care most about our kids – parents, community and school personnel. Below is the 8-component model for Coordinated School Health Programs. As you seek information on particular health and safety concerns, consider where they fit into the 8-component model. If your school has not implemented the CSHP model, suggest that they start – even the smallest change can make a healthy difference for our kids!
** This information has been shared with you by Barb Flis, mother of two and creator of Parent Action for Healthy Kids.