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Fit to Be Taught, Vol.20

Stress Free Kids

Facing fierce competition to get into top colleges, many students are compromising their health and values to get ahead. Experts are even seeing stress levels increase at the elementary school level. Some educators are working to reduce the pressures on students.

The Wheatley School has the type of students about whom communities like to boast. Many of the students at the public grade 8-to-12-school in affluent Old Westbury, New York, wrack up honors and Advanced Placement courses, while participating in school clubs and community service. About 95 percent of Wheatley graduates attend college.

But a few years ago, principal Rick Simon read the book Doing School: How We Are Creating a Generation of Stressed-Out, Materialistic, and Miseducated Students and felt like he was reading about his own school. He took the pulse of the Wheatley student body and discovered what was behind all those outstanding transcripts: stress. Students reported they were feeling overwhelmed and exhausted from trying to meet all the pressures from school, home, and themselves.

With Doing School as a catalyst, school administrators teamed up with faculty, students, and community members to look at the causes of stress and brainstorm ways to change the culture at Wheatley. "I think the biggest change has been awareness," Simon told Education World. "We got it out on the table and we're talking about it."

Read the full article on Education World.

Wellness News
Obese Kids More at Risk for Heart Disease Being overweight as a child significantly increases the risk for heart disease in adulthood as early as age 25, a study notes.

Video Game Helps Kids Fight Obesity A free video game called The Incredible Adventures of the Amazing Food Detective is available to schools. The game teaches kids to fight obesity by staying active.

Health System Sponsors Wellness Programs

Healthy Kids Club is a community outreach program sponsored by Poudre Valley Health System to promote health and wellness in the Poudre (Colorado) elementary schools.

Initiated in January 1998, Healthy Kids Club activities include: Afterschool programs, "Health Break" programs in partnership with the City of Fort Collins RAD Van, "Health Break programs in partnership with Base Camp, a monthly newsletter "Healthy Kids News" for all elementary students, "Strap and Snap" bike helmet safety education, "Swim Smart" water safety education, summer activity programs, Healthy Kids Run Series, which gives kids incentives for entering community races, the Halloween Hustle family fun run/walk, and special events and community programs that promote proper nutrition, exercise, safety, and fun.

All the elementary students in the school district receive the Healthy Kids News newsletter, and the programs reach thousands of children every year. Another version of the programming is available for pre-school students.

Parent surveys showed a 90 percent satisfaction rate with the programs and the same number reported better health habits among the children that participated in the activities.

Read more about this program at: Healthy Kids Club.

Click to learn more about Action for Healthy Kids.

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