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Fit To Be Taught, Vol. 49

Stopping the Spread of GI Illnesses in Schools

Most schools have faced an invasion of a stomach bug." Gastrointestinal (GI) illnesses that spread rapidly through classrooms cause misery and millions of student absences each year, not to mention decimating the teacher ranks.

A study by researchers from Childrens Hospital Boston, the primary pediatric teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, though, showed that a few simple preventative measures can significantly reduce the spread of GI illnesses in schools.

The study, Reducing Absenteeism From Gastrointestinal and Respiratory Illness in Elementary School Students, published in the June 2008 issue of Pediatrics, showed that absenteeism rates for GI illnesses were lower in classrooms where teachers used disinfecting wipes once a day on desktops and helped students use alcohol-based hand sanitizers before and after lunch.

In conducting the study at an elementary school in Avon, Ohio, researchers found that 16 percent of students who had used hand sanitizers and disinfecting wipes on their desks stayed home with a GI illness during the study, while 24 percent of students who did not use disinfectants were out sick.

Read the full article on Education World

Wellness News
Chef Makes Over School Lunches Chef Timothy Cipriano is bringing fresh, locally grown foods to the cafeterias in the New Haven (Connecticut) public schools.

Students Learn in Education Garden More than 1,000 Massachusetts students are helping prepare the soil, plant, and harvest herbs and vegetables in an "education garden."

Using Teens to Educate Teens

Food On the Run (FOR) assists California communities in designing healthful eating and physical activity messages and policies that are appropriate for their local high schools. Over the past five years, FOR schools have worked with coalitions of local organizations, health providers, and parents to create intervention programs at local high schools.

The programs include:

  • The recruitment and training of 10-20 high school students from each community to serve in a leadership capacity as advocates promoting healthful eating and physical activity within their school. Special emphasis was placed on promoting policy changes to create school environments that promote healthful eating and physical activity.
  • Training student advocates in the basics of nutrition, physical activity, and advocacy. Three FOR publications, "Playing the Policy Game: Preparing Teen Leaders to Take Action on Healthy Eating and Physical Activity", "Jump Start Teens", and the "Teen Web Site" were used extensively in the trainings.
  • Working with student advocates to identify nutrition and physical activity policy change goals.
  • Conducting activities in each high school that promoted healthful food choices and physical activity for adolescents. Most activities were directly related to the policy goals being pursued by the student advocates. Simple Solution" posters, counter displays, public service announcements, and incentive items were developed by FOR to promote teen healthful eating and physical activity.
  • Conducting activities that increased parental awareness of nutrition and physical activity education and policy messages to encourage parent involvement in project activities.
  • Read more about this program at: Food On the Run (FOR).

    Click to learn more about Action for Healthy Kids.

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