Assess student needs related to physical activity, nutrition, and obesity; provide counseling and other services to meet those needs.
Ensure students have access to needed health, mental health, and social services.
Provide leadership in advocacy and coordination of effective school physical activity and nutrition policies and practices.
Q: What is the recommended ratio of nursing staff to students?
A: Schools should have one full-time nurse for every 750 students.
Q: What positons help coordinate student health care services?
A: Staff positions that play a role in providing these services include nurses, physicians, dentists, counselors, psychologists, social workers, and psychiatrists.
Q: Why should assessments of student needs be conducted?
A: Assessments related to physical activity, nutrition, and obesity help:
Identify students who may need counseling on improving physical activity, nutrition, or weight management.
Guide healthy eating and physical activity programs, planning, and advocacy efforts.
Identify those students who might need to be referred to community medical care providers and healthy eating and physical activity services.
Q: How are assessments conducted?
A: School nurses, together with other health, mental health, and social services staff members can assess the healthy eating and physical activity behaviors of students during routine interactions. Health practitioners can conduct rapid dietary assessments to address topics such as frequency of eating fast foods, usual daily intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, typical portion sizes, meal frequency, and snacking patterns. Health practitioners can also conduct rapid physical activity assessments to address topics such as amount of daily physical activity participation, number of hours per day of sedentary activities, and amount of physically active discretionary activities.
Q: What types of referrals can school staff make?
A: School health, mental health, and social services staff should direct students and families to medical and health promotion services in the community and supply students and families with a list of providers whose services are accessible to all students. Referrals should be provided to all students, including those from low-income families or those lacking health insurance or transportation.
Q: How can school health, mental health, and social services staff advocate creating a positive school environment?
A: These staff can be actively involved in the school health council and work with physical education and health education teachers, nutrition services staff, principals, and other school staff to promote consistent messages about healthy eating and physical activity.