Miami Dade Schools grades
Currently, one in three kids are obese or overweight. If kiddos are obese and overweight at age 10-17 years old, they have an 80% chance of being an overweight or obese adult. Sadly, if current trends continue, by 2030, 86.3 % of adults will be overweight or obese.
In addition to the health risks that come with being overweight and obese, the Centers for Disease Control reports(1) that healthy students are better learners: students who participate in the USDA School Breakfast Program have increased grades and test scores, reduced absenteeism, and improved memory. It has also been found that not eating enough fruits, vegetables, and dairy is associated with lower grades. A recent study from Yale(2) has shown that having more “health assets” (including: healthy weight, fitness level, fruit and vegetable intake, screen time, frequency of family meal, safety, sleep and more) is linked to improved performance on standardized tests in elementary school children. Kids spend such a significant amount of time at school and are influenced by their environment, so regardless of what happens at home, school culture matters. If schools have a culture of wellness with opportunities for students to learn healthy behaviors, if the teachers are modeling healthy habits, they are giving their students a leg up and a chance to take control of their own health and their future. There is no magic nutrition wand, fostering a school wide culture of health in a school takes work, time and requires the school’s administrative team and teachers buy-in. To build healthier communities, we need multiple nonprofits, administrative support at the District level, as well as support from local foundations and the Department of Health, to ensure change happens.
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