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For children who have chronic health conditions, having access to student health services is critical to help them with daily management, as well as for acute or emergency care. Family engagement, care coordination, and communication with the family’s health care provider are all essential components to helping students stay healthy and ready to learn.



The National Association of School Nursesexternal icon states that every school-aged child deserves a registered nurse, and every school should have a full-time school nurse all day, every day; however, many schools across the United States do not meet this recommendation.


Health and learning are strongly connected. Evidence supports that healthy students perform better in school. Research shows the connection between students being physically active, eating healthy foods, and managing their chronic health conditions, improves test scores, grades, school attendance, and classroom behaviors.



Healthy students are better learners. There have been over 70 literature reviews, with over 800 unique studies, demonstrating this link between healthy behaviors and outcomes and improved academic achievement. There also have been over 100 articles that show that health programs delivered in schools improve health and academic behaviors. Schools are an ideal place to teach children and adolescents about health. There are over 130,000 schools in the United States that reach over 78 million students.


The CDC recommends that schools implement policies and practices to create a nutrition environment that supports students in making healthy choices by providing them with access to healthy and appealing foods and beverages, consistent and accurate messages about healthy eating, and opportunities to learn about and practice healthy eating.



The CDC and other national organizations recommend that schools provide a quality school meal program; ensure that students have only appealing, healthy food and beverage choices offered outside of the school meal program; market healthy foods and beverages; and use fundraising activities and student rewards that support health. The goal is to ensure that students have access to healthy food choices during the school day and receive messages that reinforce these choices. However, there is still much work to be done.



Energy beverages are associated with health concerns including dehydration, irregular heartbeat, and insomnia. Parents, teachers, and other school staff can educate students about the dangers of these drinks.




The CDC and other national organizations recommend a comprehensive, schoolwide approach to physical activity that provides opportunities for students to be physically active before, during, and after the school day. A Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program (CSPAP) has five components: physical education, physical activity during school, physical activity before and after school, staff involvement, and family and community engagement.



The CDC and other national organizations recommend a comprehensive, schoolwide approach to physical activity that provides opportunities for students to be physically active before, during, and after the school day. A Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program (CSPAP) has five components: physical education, physical activity during school, physical activity before and after school, staff involvement, and family and community engagement.



The federal Physical Activity Guidelines for Americansexternal icon recommends that children and adolescents should do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of physical activity daily. However, most students are not meeting this recommendation, and many schools are not providing opportunities to help students be more physically active to meet this recommendation.



There are 5 broad strategy categories for schools to consider to improve recess. Each category includes strategies that can be implemented by school staff or groups in the school that are responsible for leading recess. A total of 19 strategies have been identified under the 5 categories. These strategies are an integral part of recess planning and should increase physical activity, positive behavior during recess, and improve behavior and engagement in the classroom.



Recess is an important part of an active school, also known as a comprehensive school physical activity program. Providing recess to students helps them increase their daily physical activity and achieve the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity each day.



Did you know that teens who receive mostly As are almost twice as likely to get the CDC recommended daily 60 minutes of physical activity than teens who receive mostly Ds and Fs? Kids who perform better in school are more likely to be physically active on a regular basis. Adding physical activity to the school day can not only keep kids healthy, but also improve attention, behavior, and positive attitudes that lead to improved academic performance.


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CDC School Nutrition Environment and Services: Support Healthy Eating in Schools


CDC School Nutrition Environment and Services: Support Healthy Eating in Schools