Religious Background Tied to Lower Health Risks in Teens

Adolescents who regularly attended religious services had 33% reduced odds of illicit drug use, 12% lower depression risk and 18% increased likelihood of reporting high happiness levels, according to a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Researchers also found a 30% reduced risk of early sex initiation and 40% lower likelihood of sexually transmitted diseases among those who frequently prayed or meditated.  Read more.

Ninth Grade Center Celebrates Collaboration and Teamwork

Ginger Carter, WPHS Ninth Grade Center's teacher of the year, listen's to CHILL Counselor, Caitilan McDonald, give a presentation on happiness.

Ginger Carter, WPHS Ninth Grade Center’s teacher of the year, listen’s to CHILL Counselor, Caitilan McDonald, give a presentation on happiness.

After school, on Wednesday, March 16, staff from the Winter Park High School (WPHS) Ninth Grade Center, joined together to celebrate.  They celebrated their support person and teacher of the year.  They celebrated three quarters of collaboration, teamwork, and dedication.  Caitlin McDonald, WPHS Ninth Grade Center CHILL Counselor, gave a presentation about stress management and happiness.  54 of the WPHS Ninth Grade Center’s 65 staff members participated in this non-mandatory meeting / presentation / celebration (even during the week grades were due!).  Together, the staff shared laughs, stories, and positive messages.

Congratulations to the staff and administration at the WPHS Ninth Grade Center for celebrating these important character traits and in turn, demonstrating healthy and happy behaviors for their students.  Healthy schools are truly a team effort.


Happiness Training at Aloma Elementary

Teaching, while incredibly rewarding, can often be stressful.  With standardized testing upon us, teachers may find they are dealing with increased levels of stress and therefore, needing additional coping skills to get through this time.

To help meet this need, Meredith Kelley, LMHC, CHILL counselor at Aloma Elementary, provided a happiness training at Aloma’s most recent staff meeting.  Staff learned about hope, optimism, how to spread happiness, and how happiness can influence their students’ performance.

One teacher told Healthy Kids Today, “I really liked the training.  I came away with ideas to better deal with stress in the classroom and how I can help my students with their stress levels.”

Fourth Annual Live.Life.Healthy Health Fair

Create your own organic face maskStudent leaders of Live.Life.Healthy (LLH)—a Winter Park High School (WPHS) initiative designed to help inspire fellow students to live a healthier lifestyle—hosted their fourth annual health fair September 30, including a roving limbo station, a chance to test hand-washing skills and homemade face masks.

The health fair consisted of a variety of booths that touched on all aspects of a healthy lifestyle—including eating healthy foods, getting exercise, dental health, stress reduction, and taking steps to avoid skin cancer.

Students staffing each booth provided information and got students involved in related activities.

For example, at the stress reduction table, students were provided with information on healthy foods, physical activity, and other tips to help reduce their stress levels.  Students also received a free stress reduction ball.

Since hand washing is an important way to avoid illness, the LLH student leaders gave other students the chance to wash their hands and then used a special light and container to show how much dirt remained. Students received tips to help them do a better job next time.Stress reduction

At the Sugar Busters table, students were asked to guess how much sugar could be found in popular candies and then compare to the sugar in vegetables.

Also popular was the natural face mask booth where students learned how to create a homemade face mask with items commonly found in the home.

Other booths foMaking smoothiescused on the difference between a vegetarian and a vegan, a taste test between fat-free and regular ice cream, a juicing booth,  a smoothie bar, a make a better sandwich bar, and the necessity of good dental health.

LLH student leaders also used the occasion to continue to promote the bike share program which enables students to check out bicycles for free.  Additionally, LLH students used mobile technology to poll students about their happiness.  A follow up survey, based on the responses from this survey, will be conducted later in the year to identify common barriers and then brainstorm solutions to happiness.

LLH is a student-created and led initiative, founded and supported with grant funding from the Winter Park Health Foundation, to encourage all students to eat healthier and be more active.

Visit Live.Life.Healthy on Facebook or on Twitter for more information about the health fair and other healthy activities.