Monday, August 26, 2013

CDC Report: American Schools Are Getting Healthier

CDC Director Tom Frieden credits Let's Move! campaign...
Washington, DC - The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday released the 2012 School Health Policies and Practices Study results.  The report is the largest and most comprehensive survey to assess school health policies, and showed that nutrition and fitness initiatives are being adopted on campuses across the nation.  CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., attributed this in part to First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! campaign.  (Above, Mrs. Obama during a Mississippi school visit with Rachael Ray)

"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," Frieden said in a statement issued with the report.

The report collected data at the state and district levels only, noted CDC.  School and classroom-level data will be collected in 2014 and released in 2015.  DOWNLOAD the Report {PDF}.

The key findings: 

Nutrition:
*The percentage of school districts that allowed soft drink companies to advertise soft drinks on school grounds decreased from 46.6 percent in 2006 to 33.5 percent in 2012.

*Between 2006 and 2012, the percentage of districts that required schools to prohibit offering junk food in vending machines increased from 29.8 percent to 43.4 percent.

*Between 2006 and 2012, the percentage of districts with food procurement contracts that addressed nutritional standards for foods that can be purchased separately from the school breakfast or lunch increased from 55.1 percent to 73.5 percent.

*Between 2000 and 2012, the percentage of districts that made information available to families on the nutrition and caloric content of foods available to students increased from 35.3 percent to 52.7 percent.

Physical education/activity:
*The percentage of school districts that required elementary schools to teach physical education increased from 82.6 percent in 2000 to 93.6 percent in 2012.

*More than half of school districts (61.6 percent) had a formal agreement, such as a memorandum of agreement or understanding, between the school district and another public or private entity for shared use of school or community property. Among those districts, more than half had agreements with a local youth organization (e.g., the YMCA, Boys or Girls Clubs, or the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts) or a local parks or recreation department.


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*Photo by Lawrence Jackson/White House