Taking a Two-Generation Approach to Children’s Health

Even before birth, children rely on their parents to learn about and cultivate the habits and skills that will support their future health and well-being. Because of this, when a parent or caregiver struggles, children’s health may suffer. In this interview with NICHQ CEO Scott D. Berns, MD, MPH, FAAP, we discuss why a two-generation approach is essential for children’s health, and how we can use it to drive systems-level change.

Walk to School Day is One Week Away

The countdown is on – Walk to School Day is only a week away! When kids walk to school, they improve their health, gain independence and confidence, and arrive at school ready to learn. On October 10, thousands of communities will join in with fun and safe Walk to School Day events that get families, teachers, city staff, and community members walking together, while educating children and families about the benefits of walking.

Check out the Safe Routes to School’s guide to planning your Walk to School Day event in four easy steps, and be sure to register your event on to make sure your efforts are counted as part of the national movement for walking and biking to school.

7 Things to Tell the Teacher About Your Child

What can you tell a teacher that will help him do his job better? You might be surprised. While your child’s teacher is the expert in education, no one knows more about your child than you do. It’s just as important for parents to tell teachers about issues at home that may affect school performance as it is for teachers to report how children are doing in the classroom.

Students do best when parents and teachers work together as partners. The start of a new school year is a great time to open a dialogue with your child’s teacher. Not sure where to start? Here are seven things teachers wish you would tell them. Sharing this information with a teacher will help her better understand your child’s needs and lay the groundwork for a cooperative relationship throughout the school year.

  1. Health conditions: If your child is diabetic, uses an inhaler, is allergic to peanuts, or has a serious health condition, her teacher should know. It’s also helpful to let the teacher know whether your child has been diagnosed with conditions like ADHD, which may affect behavior and concentration.
  2. Family issues: Fill in the teacher if your family is going through a major change that could affect your child, such as a divorce, a death in the family, or a move. Even if your child seems to have adjusted well, alert teachers so they can watch for behavioral changes.
  3. Personality traits or behavior issues: Maybe your son is painfully shy and is worried about making friends at a new school. Or perhaps your kindergartner has been having tantrums at home and you’re concerned she’ll do the same at school. It’s best to make teachers aware of these issues before they become a problem at school.
  4. Strengths and weaknesses: Your daughter is a star student in math but is embarrassed to read aloud. Your son loves language arts but struggles with science. If you tell teachers these things up front, they’ll have more time to help your children improve in the areas they need it most.
  5. Learning style: You’ve spent years teaching your kids, from potty training to tying shoelaces, so you have a good idea of their learning styles. If your child learns better through hands-on activities than through listening to explanations, mention that to his teacher. Also share any teaching strategies that you’ve found work well with your child.
  6. Study habits: Does your son speed through math homework but labor over reading assignments? Do your daughter’s grades suffer because she spends so much time at skating lessons? Tell teachers about your children’s study habits and any issues they face in completing the work. Teachers often can offer suggestions to make homework time go more smoothly.
  7. Special interests: Knowing more about your child’s hobbies or interests can help the teacher forge connections in the classroom. Let the teacher know that your young son loves a particular comic book superhero and that your middle school daughter is a gifted painter.

This article is reprinted with the permission of School Family Media, and can be found on their website here.

Tips for Preventing Heat-Related Illnesses

It’s great to get outdoors during the summer, but it’s important to stay safe in the sun. Don´t let the heat ruin your family fun. Follow these tips to prevent heat-related health issues:

  • Never cover your baby’s stroller with a blanket. It may block the sun, but even a thin blanket can stop air circulation and cause the interior of the stroller to overheat.
  • Never leave a child in a parked car. Vehicles can quickly heat up to dangerous temperatures, even with a window cracked open.
  • Keep your children hydrated when they’re playing outside, don’t wait until they’re thirsty.

SHAPE America’s National PE & Sport Week

SHAPE America’s National PE & Sport Week, held annually from May 1-7, celebrates and shares the value of effective physical education and sport programs in schools around the nation. This year, SHAPE America will be highlighting some of their exceptional members and rising stars who are accomplishing “Big Feats” with their work — and leaving their mark on health education, physical education and sport.

During this week, and the entire month of May, look for these inspirational success stories and take advantage of free activities, lesson plans and advocacy resources from SHAPE America that can benefit your school and community.

Share your own accomplishments on social media during our Twitter Slow Chat May 1-7 and help put a spotlight on health and PE in schools with their social media badges. 

Health-Related Behaviors and Academic Achievement Among High School Students

CDC’s September 7, 2017 issue of The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report confirms that high school students reporting lower academic grades also report great health risk behaviors. In addition, data from the 2015 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) show that students with higher grades are less likely to participate in certain risk behaviors. While results do not prove a causal link, students who reported engaging in unhealthy behaviors struggle academically.


What is already known about this topic?

Studies have shown links between health-related behaviors and educational outcomes such as grades, test scores, and other measures of academic achievement; however, many of these studies have used samples that are not nationally representative or are out of date.

What is added by this report?

Analyses of nationwide 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey data (controlling for sex, race/ethnicity, and grade in school) reveal that high school students who received mostly A’s, mostly B’s, or mostly C’s had significantly higher prevalence estimates for most protective health-related behaviors and significantly lower prevalence estimates for most health-related risk behaviors compared with students with mostly D’s/F’s.

What are the implications for public health practice?

School health interventions can promote positive health behaviors and improve both health and academic outcomes for students. Evidence suggests that educational and public health institutions have a shared interest in promoting student health and that collaborative efforts have the potential to make important strides in improving the health and academic achievement of youths.

Thankful Thursday at Winter Park High School

To encourage staff to take a minute out of their day to reflect on what they’re thankful for, Nancy Mooney, RN, School Nurse and Healthy School Team Leader, coordinates a regular “Thankful Thursday” activity for the staff.

This month, staff were treated to coffee, tea, and hot cocoa as well as treats in the media room.  WPHS Cafeteria Manager, Willie Wright, and the members of the WPHS Healthy School Team came together to provide this wonderful activity for all WPHS staff.


Dommerich Elementary Wins OCPS Green School Award

Dommerich Elementary was recently named a “School of Excellence” by the Orange County Public Schools Green School Recognition Program.  Dommerich Elementary also won the Judges’ Choice Award for Health and Well-Being and third place overall, for a total of prize of $1,750.

The Green Schools Recognition Program encourages cultures of sustainability within school communities. This program recognizes schools for taking a holistic approach to going green that incorporates school ground enhancement, resource conservation, curriculum connections, and community involvement with a school wide commitment and focus on sustainability.

Congratulations to Dommerich Elementary for a job well done!

Dommerich Elementary receives the Judges' Choice Award for Health and Wellness

Dommerich Elementary receives the Judges’ Choice Award for Health and Wellness

Dommerich Elementary receives the 3rd Place Overall award for the OCPS Green Schools Recognition Program

Dommerich Elementary receives the 3rd Place Overall award for the OCPS Green Schools Recognition Program

Dommerich Elementary is recognized as a School of Excellence by the OCPS Green Schools Recognition Program

Dommerich Elementary is recognized as a School of Excellence by the OCPS Green Schools Recognition Program

Heart Health Tips for Kids

kids-heart-healthFebruary is Heart Health Month.  Most associate this health awareness month with adults, but did you know that a healthy heart starts in childhood?  We now know that early heart disease can be found in children who have poor diets and a sedentary lifestyle.  This is why it is so important to teach children healthy habits that will promote a healthy heart and overall well-being.

Kids are like little sponges and they learn quickly from you and their surroundings.  Help them instill healthy habits that they will carry with them through their lifetime.

Here is a list of healthy heart tips from our friends at Nourish Interactive that:
  • give you ideas on how to get your child moving
  • promote prevention of heart disease
  • provide tips on the healthy foods that promote a healthy heart

List of Tips Promote A Healthy Heart For Kids And For Families

  1. All children age 3 and older need yearly blood pressure measurements.
  2. A healthy heart starts with a healthy breakfast.
  3. Kids like to feel great. Teach them how to be good to their heart.
  4. Salmon has omega 3 heart healthy fat.
  5. Look for the words “100% whole” when buying whole wheat or whole grains.
  6. For chocolate lovers, eat antioxidant-rich, heart-healthy, organic dark chocolate
  7. The heart’s a muscle too. Give it a workout.
  8. Avoid foods with trans fat (you can find it in the food label).
  9. Promote heart healthy foods that are low in saturated fats.
  10. Choose and prepare foods with less salt. Most adults and children consume more sodium (salt) than their body needs.
  11. Sauces such as low sodium soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, wasabi, or ginger are healthy choices.
  12. Omega 3 fat is good for your heart and brain.
  13. Most kids eat too much salt. Keep the salt shaker off the table.
  14. Soluable fiber helps lower your cholesterol.
  15. Healthy oils come from fish, nuts, and liquid oils like grape seed, olive oil, avocado and hemp oil.
  16. Exercise can help increase your family’s healthy “HDL” cholesterol.
  17. Keep an eye on cholesterol by reading the food labels.
  18. Black beans are a better choice because they have less fat than refried beans
  19. Try healthy spray butter for your dinner rolls and veggies. They taste great and add 0 calories.
  20. Keep your heart healthy with lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  21. Use leftover chicken from dinner last night and make a sandwich vs. processed sandwich meat which is high in sodium (salt).
  22. Drinking just one can of soda a day increases a child’s risk of obesity by 60%. Restrict your child’s soft drink consumption.

Parental Overmanagement of Teens’ Healthcare can be Harmful

Parental-overmanagement-of-teens-healthcare-can-be-harmfulMost parents want to help and protect their children as much as possible. A new study conducted at the University of Michigan suggests that when it comes to healthcare, however, handling scheduling, forms and questions may impede teenagers from learning to care for themselves.

More than one-third of parents were shown in the poll to ask all the questions at their teen’s visits to the doctor, limiting their ability to learn to care for themselves and potentially preventing them from asking about health issues their parents are not aware of.  Teaching teens to slowly start taking care of their own affairs makes them more self-sufficient, but a 2013 study also found it can help lower risks for anxiety and depression, as well as improve overall satisfaction with their lives as they get older.