Schools are a natural environment to promote healthy eating and physical activity. Research indicates that integrating health into school environments give students the opportunity for an academic advantage. For the past eight years, through a partnership with the Regional Office of Education and the DuPage County Health Department, FORWARD has been working with DuPage County schools to survey BMI rates, increase student’s healthy food and physical activity options, and help school leaders implement health promoting policies.
In DuPage county more than one in seven (14.8%) kindergarten, sixth grade, and ninth grade public school students were obese in 2016-2017. An obese child is more likely to be an obese adult and develop high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and a number of other problems. Click here for a full report of DuPage County data.
In an effort to further improve the health of children across DuPage County, FORWARD in partnership with Action for Healthy Kids launched the Healthier DuPage Schools Challenge in 2016. The goals of this program are to:
By providing schools with the tools and resources they need to make the health of their students a key priority, the Healthier DuPage Schools Challenge will work to create a long-term, transformative impact on the health of DuPage children, families and communities. To date, seven schools have made sustainable health and wellness programs impacting nearly 4,000 children.
Recommendations to help your school take action:
-Spread the word about the publication Childhood Obesity in DuPage County. Really, pass it on. Don't forget about your school board, administrators, teachers, PTA/PTO, parents, students, and community partners.
-Adopt the 5-4-3-2-1 Go!® message:
-Develop a Healthy Schools Program:
-Assess the district's wellness policy using the WellSAT 2.0 Policy Assessment tool and incorporate improvements based on recommendations.
-Conduct the School Health Index (SHI) assessment in your school and develop an Action Plan based on the results.
-Host events and expand relationships with parents, volunteers, and other community partners.
For morel school healthy lifestyle resources click here. Need help getting started or want more details on the next steps? Contact FORWARD.