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School Start Times for Adolescents - Early school start times – before 8:30 a.m. – are strongly implicated in adolescent sleep deprivation, according to a statement released this week by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Chronic sleep loss among teenagers has increasingly become the norm due to several factors, including a later release of melatonin, lifestyle choices and academic demands. Later start times, however, are the easiest and cheapest solution. (American Academy of Pediatrics, August 2014)...

TV Watching and Computer Use in U.S. Youth Aged 12 - 15, 2012 - Although experts recommend no more than two hours of TV/computer time for young people a day, most do more. In 2012, 27 percent of youth aged 12 – 15, had two hours or less of TV plus computer daily. Girls were more likely to use the computer two hours or less daily (80.4 percent) than boys (69.4 percent). As weight status increased, the percentage of youth who reported two or fewer hours of screen time decreased. (Kirsten A. Herrick, et al., Centers for Disease Control, July 2014)...

The 2014 United States Report Card on Physical Activity for Children & Youth - An assessment of activity levels in American children and youth concludes they aren't exercising nearly enough. Delivered in the form of a report card, it indicates the level of overall physical activity is a D-, and the percentage of children who walk or bike to school (13 percent) gets an F. The highest grade, B-, was for the proportion of children and youth living in neighborhoods with at least one park or playground (85 percent). (National Physical Activity Plan: Make the Move, May 2014)...

Time to Act: Investing in the Health of Our Children and Communities - Americans think they are healthier than people in other countries, but that is a myth, argues this report, a myth at every economic level, but more so for vulnerable communities. In 1980, the United States was 15th among affluent countries in life expectancy, in 2009, it was 27th. Commissioners presented three recommendations: invest in physical and mental well-being of our youngest children, create communities that foster health-promoting behaviors and broaden health care to promote health outside the medical system.(Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, January 2014)...

Sports-Related Concussions in Youth: Improving the Science, Changing the Culture - Not enough is known about youth concussions, concludes a committee studying the topic and they recommend many directions for future research. First, not a lot is known about the overall incidence of sports-related concussions in youth so they want to see a national surveillance system. Next, they recommend research on the molecular and functional changes in the brain following injury and whether that varies by gender. Controlled, longitudinal, large-scale studies should be conducted on the effects of repetitive head impacts over a lifetime. And, in a different direction, find out whether rules and standards for safe play affect incidence. Other rich possibilities for exploration include design of more effective safety equipment, and how to change the culture. (Institute of Medicine, National Academies, October 2013)...

The Effects of Breakfast on Behavior and Academic Performance in Children and Adolescents - A review of the literature from 1950 to 2013 indicated breakfast's positive effects on on-task classroom behavior. There was also suggestive evidence that habitual breakfast and school breakfast programs have a positive effect on children's academic performance with clearest effects on mathematics and arithmetic in undernourished children. Increased frequency of habitual breakfast was consistently positively associated with academic performance. (Katie Adolphus, Clare L. Lawton and Louise Dye, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, August 2013) ...

Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School - Students should get at least 60 minutes of exercise a day, advises this bulletin, and half of those minutes should be within the school day through recess or dedicated classroom time. The rest can be in before- or after-school programming and intramural sports. Other recommendations include renovating schools in existing neighborhoods rather than locating new schools away from where children live and designating physical education as a core subject. (Institute of Medicine)...

Active Living Research: Using Evidence to Prevent Childhood Obesity and Create Active Communities - Schools play a critical role in helping children lead active, healthy lives. Research shows that kids who move more aren’t just healthier, they also tend to do better academically, behave better in class and miss fewer days of school. This report provides resources which present the best evidence available about a variety of school-based strategies for promoting physical activity. The authors highlight health and policy implications to make changes that will help children be active before, during and after school. (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, September 2012)...

Beverages Sold in Public Schools: Some Encouraging Progress, Additional Improvements are Needed - This brief summarizes two recent articles published in Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, which examined the availability of beverages sold in U.S. public elementary, middle and high schools. Data are drawn from surveys of nationally representative samples for five school years, from 2006–07 to 2010–11. The findings identify areas of greatest progress and areas where additional efforts are needed. (Bridging the Gap Program, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, August 2012)...

Childhood Obesity and Nutrition Issues in the United States: An Update on School-based Policies and Practices - This update on School-based Policies and Practices follows a 2005 CEEP brief on this topic. The 2012 brief examines the latest research and statistics and considers reasons for the continuing increase in obesity rates among children, and the latest federal and state initiatives to combat these causes. A summary of 41 wellness policies collected from Indiana school districts is included. The brief also offers conclusions and recommendations to schools, education leaders, policymakers, and parents about how to curb the obesity epidemic. (CEEP, Spring 2012)...

Promoting Physical Activity through Shared Use of School and Community Recreational Resources - A new research brief from Active Living Research summarizes research on community access to school sport and recreation facilities outside of school hours, as well as studies that examine the shared use of school facilities and programs with other community groups or agencies. It also describes challenges commonly associated with the shared use of recreational facilities, and opportunities for policy-makers at the state and local level. (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, April 2012)...

Increasing Physical Activity Through Recess - This brief summarizes the growing body of research examining recess, which shows that providing recess during the school day is an effective and efficient way to increase physical activity and improve academic performance among children. (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, January 2012)...

Do All Children Have Places to be Active? Disparities in Access to Physical Activity Environments in Racial and Ethnic Minority and Lower-Income Communities - This report examines the growing body of evidence indicating that racial and ethnic minority, and lower-income, communities do not provide as many built and social environmental supports for physical activity, and summarizes research on racial, ethnic and economic disparities in obesity and physical activity rates among children and adults. (Wendell Taylor and Deborah Lou, Active Living Research, November 2011)...

School Health Profiles 2010: Characteristics of Health Programs Among Secondary Schools - The School Health Profiles (Profiles) is a system of surveys assessing school health policies and practices in states, large urban school districts, territories, and tribal governments. Profiles surveys are conducted every 2 years by education and health agencies among middle and high school principals and lead health education teachers. Profiles monitors the status of: school health education requirements and content, physical education requirements, school health policies related to HIV infection/AIDS, tobacco-use prevention, and nutrition, asthma management activities, and family and community involvement in school health programs. (CDC, November 2011)...

Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program (CSPAP) Survey - Executive Summary of the 2011 survey results. (American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, 2011)...

The Health and Well-Being of Children in Rural Areas: A Portrait of the Nation 2007 - This report presents findings on the health and well-being of children in rural areas, including national and state level data. It highlights statistical information on the overall health status of children in rural areas including oral, physical, and mental health; health care utilization; insurance status; social well-being; and environmental risk factors experienced by children in rural areas in the context of their families and communities. The chartbook includes figures, references, and appendices. (Health Resources and Services Administration, September 2011)...

Adolescent Obesity in the United States: Facts for Policymakers - This document contents facts about the prevalence of obesity, the lifestyle factors and health and economic consequences. The authors present system-level challenges to preventing and combating adolescent obesity and make recommendations for local, state and federal policymakers. (National Center for Children in Poverty, November 2010)...

School District Wellness Policies: Evaluating Progress and Potential for Improving Children's Health Three Years After the Federal Mandate - The study highlights opportunities for changing policies to better support healthy eating and physical activity, such as setting stronger nutritional standards for competitive foods and beverages and ensuring that schools provide high-quality physical education programs. Its conclusions are especially relevant to the federal reauthorization of both the Child Nutrition Act and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, August 2010)...

Solving the Problem of Childhood Obesity Within a Generation - The childhood obesity epidemic in America is a national health crisis. One in every three children ages 2-19 is overweight or obese. This report focuses on and expands on what we can do together to: (1) Create a healthy start on life for our children, from pregnancy through early childhood; (2) Empower parents and caregivers to make healthy choices for their families; (3) Serve healthier food in schools; (4) Ensure access to healthy, affordable food; and (5) Increase opportunities for physical activity. (White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity, May 2010)...

Children's Mental Health: What Every Policymaker Should Know - Children need to be healthy in order to learn, grow, and lead productive lives. The mental health service delivery system in its current state does not sufficiently meet the needs of children and youth, and most who are in need of mental health services are not able to access them. With the addition of effective treatments, services, and supports, the mental health system can become better equipped to help children and youth with mental health problems, or those who are at risk, to thrive and live successfully. (Shannon Stagman and Janice Cooper, National Center for Children in Poverty, April 2010)...

Local Government Actions to Prevent Childhood Obesity - There are numerous actions that show potential for use by local governments. Local goverments are ideally positioned to promote behaviors that will help children and adolescents reach and maintain healthy weights. Of course, parents and other adult carefivers play a fundamental role in teaching children about health behaviors, in modeling these behaviors and im making decisions for children when needed. (Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, September 2009)...

Local Wellness Policies: Assessing School District Strategies for Improving Children's Health 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 School Years - The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 included language requiring school districts participating in the National School Lunch Program to adopt and implement a wellness policy by the first day of school in 2006-07 school year. This report is a comprehensive review of these wellness policies. The quality of the policies vary and many lacked sufficient plans for implementation and monitoring. (Health Policy Center, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, July 2009)...

Nutritional Standards in UK Schools - This report outlines children's nutritional requirements, the take-up of school meals in the United Kingdom, the capacity to enforce the standards and the impact of children's diet on behavior and learning. (Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, July 2009)...

Research Briefing: The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study - The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study is the first large-scale study to empirically demonstrate that various types of trauma and household dysfunction in childhood significantly increase the risk for physical and mental disease in adulthood. While the relationship between childhood maltreatment and mental health problems is well documented, the ACE Study breaks new ground in exposing the physical manifestations of childhood trauma. This research briefing summarizes the ACE study. (Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy, July 2009)...

School Meal Program Participation and Its Association with Dietary Patterns and Childhood Obesity - Data from the School Nutrition Dietary Assessment III Study was used to examine dietary patterns of both students participating and those not participating in school meal programs. One finding was that students participating in the School Breakfast Program ate more low-nutrient energy-dense baked goods and more calories at breakfast which spread calorie intake more evenly over the course of the day. (Mathematica Policy Research, July 2009)...

Improving Child Nutrition Policy: Insights from National USDA Study of School Food Environments - The Third School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study resulted in findings about competitive foods - those offered in vending machines, a la carte lines and school stores - available to students in school and highlight the success of the National School Lunch Program in reducing the use of competitive foods by students. Policy recommendations, based on comprehensive analysis of the data, are included. (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, February 2009)...

Nutrition Standards For Foods in Schools: Leading the Way Toward Healthier Youth - Federally reimbursable school nutrition programs have been an important means for ensuring that students have daily access to fruits, vegetables, whole-grain-based products and nonfat or low-fat dairy products during the school day. There are an increasing number of opportunities for students to eat and drink, including á la carte services, vending machines, school stores, snack bars, concession stands, classroom or school celebrations, achievement rewards, after-school programs and other venues. This report provides recommendations to help ensure that offerings in these venues are consistent with the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for America and, in particular, to help children and adolescents meet the guidelines for consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nonfat or low-fat dairy products. (Institute of Medicine, April 2007)...

State-Level School Health Policies and Practices - The School Health Policies and Programs Study (SHPPS) is a national survey periodically conducted to assess school health policies and practices at the state, district, school and classroom levels. Results for SHPPS 2006 are presented here in the following tables: (1) health education, (2) physical education, (3) health services, (4) mental health and social services, (5) nutrition services, (6) healthy and safe school environment and (7) faculty and staff health promotion. (National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2007)...


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