Schools Are Improving In Nutrition And Physical Education
August 28, 2013

CDC Report Shows Schools Improving In Areas Of Nutrition, Physical Education

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

US schools are making progress when it comes to health-related areas such as nutrition, physical education, and tobacco policies, officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported Monday.

According to Cheri Cheng of Counsel & Heal News, the federal health agency’s 2012 School Health Policies and Practices Study (SHPPS) revealed the number of schools allowing soft drink companies decreased and the number prohibiting the sale of junk food in vending machines increased between the years of 2006 and 2012.

Soda manufacturer ads were permitted in 47 percent of all US school seven years ago, Cheng said. As of last year, that number fell to slightly over one-third (33.5 percent).

Over that same time period, the number of educational institutions that banned the sale of items like candy or chips in vending machines increased from 30 percent to more than 43 percent, while the number of school districts that provided students and their parents with nutritional information for school meals rose from 35 percent to 53 percent.

The survey also reported the number of school districts requiring elementary schools to teach physical education classes increased from 82.6 percent in 2000 to 93.6 percent in 2012, according to UPI reports.

More than six out of every 10 school districts (nearly 62 percent) has also reached a formal agreement between their member schools and a separate public or private organization such as the YMCA, the Boy Scouts, or the Boys and Girls Clubs for shared access to school and/or community property, they added.

In terms of tobacco use, the SHPPS study found districts prohibiting all tobacco use during school-related functions increased from less than 47 percent in 2000 to nearly 68 percent in 2012, said HealthDay News reporter Steven Reinberg.

“Schools play a critical role in the health and well-being of our youth,” CDC Director Tom Frieden said in a statement. “Good news for students and parents – more students have access to healthy food, better physical fitness activities through initiatives such as ‘Let’s Move,’ and campuses that are completely tobacco free.”

SHPPS is a nationwide survey designed to assess eight components of health-related issues: health education, physical education and activity, health services, mental health and social services, nutrition services, healthy and safe school environment, faculty and staff health promotion, and family and community involvement.

The 2012 study collected data from the state and district levels only, the CDC said. School and classroom information is currently scheduled to be collected next year and released sometime in 2015.