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Become a Champion for Healthy, Active Schools

Charity L. Bryan, Sandra K. Sims, Donna L. Dunaway, and Donna J. Hester

Strategies Cover March April 2019

Quality nutrition, physical activity, and a high-quality physical education program greatly improve student academic achievement, on-task behavior, concentration, absenteeism, and adequate yearly progress (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014). Th e Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model brings together health and education experts to collaborate on ways to improve children’s cognitive, physical, social and emotional development. In addition, the WSCC model provides a framework to focus on the interdependent relationship between children’s learning and their health (ASCD, 2014). Using this collaborative approach as a framework, the Alabama Champions for Healthy, Active Schools is one way to meet the components of the WSCC model.

The Alabama Champions for Healthy, Active Schools is a statewide wellness initiative for grades K–12 focused on academic success and healthy living. The Champions initiative is a collaborative effort involving key partners that share a vested interest in improving the health of Alabama students, families, and school personnel. It is supported by the Alabama Department of Education; Alabama Department of Public Health; Alabama State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (ASAHPERD); Alliance for a Healthier Generation; and Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Alabama. Advocacy efforts are needed across the country to promote healthy and active schools. Schools are a logical choice for these efforts, as students spend 2,000 hours a year in school, and schools provide a unique opportunity to teach and model healthy eating and active living habits. Champions assists school districts and schools with the development of successful policies that promote wellness.

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