More than 86,000 students are benefiting from improved policies and practices in nutrition, physical education, physical activity, and the management of chronic health conditions in schools, leading to reduced absences.
The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) is providing extensive regional training and coordination to support the use of Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs. In addition, ISDH provided mini-grants to priority school districts in response to the needs identified from their action plans. Schools bought physical activity equipment and technology to promote movement in the classroom and before and after school.
Working with the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE), ISDH also updated two guidance documents: (1) the Indiana Healthy Schools Toolkit, which provides information and resources to support health-promoting policies and practices in schools, and (2) the Indiana School Nurses Manual, which guides the management and delivery of health services in schools for diabetes and other chronic health conditions.
After conducting a needs assessment with school nurses, IDOE also launched a pilot project with the South Bend Community School Corporation school district to provide instructional tools to support students with diabetes.
Absenteeism trend data in pilot program schools suggest improved attendance for most students with diabetes over three consecutive semesters during 2015–2017, and a decline in the average days absent per semester from about 10 (n = 48) to about 7 (n = 49). The pilot program targets 35 schools, with an enrollment of more than 18,000 students.
The project targeting school nutrition, physical education, and physical activity reaches an estimated 86,100 students in 15 priority school districts.