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October 25, 2006 | South Carolina Headlines


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Healthy students can be found in healthy schools
Benj Buck
November 22, 2005

Epidemic--that's what some are willing to call childhood obesity in America.  In the late 90s, American Family Physician reported that over 25% of American children should be diagnosed as obese.

While we wonder what some homes are doing to combat the growing problem, schools can report their actions against obesity.  In South Carolina, the State Superintendent of Education acknowledges schools that promote healthy behavior.  On November 22, 2005, eleven schools were awarded for their efforts to discourage obesity.

"Across South Carolina, there is a renewed emphasis on physical activity and well-rounded nutrition in our schools," the State Superintendent of Education said.  "This focus recognizes the strong link between learning and good healthy behaviors - a common thread among all of these winning schools.  Their efforts are models for other schools searching for ways to combat obesity, reduce medical costs and ultimately help students perform better in school and live healthier lives."

In order for South Carolina to consider a school "healthy," schools must show a team approach to improving student health as well as show evidence of exceptional practices in one or more of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Adolescent and School Health Eight-Component model of Coordinated School Health.  The areas of practice are: family and community involvement; skills-based health education; health services; healthy and safe environment; physical education and activity; nutrition; guidance, psychological and social services; and staff wellness.

In the 2003, over ten schools accomplished all eight requirements.  This year, of the eleven schools recognized, two schools have been honored for fufilling all eight.  Both Drayton Hall Elementary (Charleston Cnty) and Wren Elementary School (Anderson Cnty) were recognized Tuesday for fulfilling all eight practices.  Drayton Hall established a peer mediation program to help students develop healthier recess times.  Furthermore, Drayton Hall began a club that encourages students to make healthier decisions.  Wren Elementary used a survey to help develop playground equipment that is both safer and healthier.  Wren Elementary alse integrates math, laguage arts, science, and social studies into the physical education program.

Parents of obese children, if you are looking for expert recommendations for your home and some helpful encouragement, you need to read an essay by Sarah E. Barlow and William H. Dietz.

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