RESULTS OF SCHOOL HEALTH ACTIVITIES
(reported by school leaders)
- Improved student attendance
- Less smoking among students and staff
- Decrease in the rate of teenage pregnancy
- Increased participation in physical fitness activities
- Greater interest in weight control, cholesterol levels, and healthier diets
- Increased use of school health and counseling services
- Decreased numbers of disciplinary problems
- Delayed onset of health risk behaviors such as sexual intercourse, alcohol use, and drug use.
POSITIVE OUTCOMES TO STUDENTS, STAFF, FAMILIES, AND COMMUNITIES
- Health education teachers are more aware and sensitive to student concerns and behaviors, and are able to refer students to health services or mental health personnel, if necessary.
- School nurses are able to recognize health problems and refer students to community health providers or a school-based health center.
- Nutrition services staff are able to send home information on upcoming menus and healthy, easy-to-prepare recipes that support and reinforce healthy eating habits for the entire family.
- Staff health promotion programs can be set up so that the students' families are able to join school staff in fitness programs or smoking cessation programs.
- Schools and community organizations are able to more efficiently share after-school program facilities, and community members are partners in supporting children's health and learning.
- Students can become more empowered to make healthy decisions about behavioral changes, after being given the proper information and skills to be able to evaluate their choices.
- When nutritious food is available at school, students become less hungry, and can potentially learn and concentrate better.
- Health problems are prevented before they can start when programs are set up to allow more students to have better access to health care, receive treatment, and develop skills for staying healthy and injury free.
- When children and parents have better access to emotional support during critical times, obstacles to mental health are prevented or removed.
- Children become more alert and able to concentrate better in the classroom when taught ways to become more physically active.
- Children who feel secure and cared for in their environment can increase their focus on learning.
- When families are encouraged to become more involved in schools, the school health programs can better reflect the needs, priorities, and values of the community they are set up to help.
BENEFITS TO STUDENT HEALTH AND LEARNING
Since the coordinated school health is a relatively new approach, no research data are currently available to demonstrate the extent to which a coordinated approach to school health directly improves student health and learning. However, by looking at the positive results of some of the individual components of a coordinated school health, preliminary results indicate the potential for positive cumulative gains in benefits. For instances:
- School health education can change students' health behaviors and attitudes, and is a cost-effective way to promote health and prevent diseases.
- Teachers participating in school-site health promotion programs have higher morale and fewer absences.
- School nutrition services can improve students' scores on standardized tests.
- Family involvement can increase students' and their families' adoption of health-enhancing behaviors.
- The quality of school environments can either enhance or undermine the quality of student learning.
- The availability of school-based health centers can increase student attendance, reduce suspensions, and decrease dropout rates.