Promoting Healthy Lifestyles
Cincinnati Public Schools is promoting healthy lifestyles by encouraging schoolchildren to eat healthier foods and to get more exercise.
A student's health is integral to a child's success in school. Healthy students have better attendance, are more attentive, and perform better than a child who is struggling with health issues. That is why the Cincinnati Public School District works hard to keep students healthy and in school.
The federal school-lunch program requires all participating school districts to create wellness policies. Each district's Wellness Policy must state nutrition and exercise goals for the school day, and establish nutrition standards for school lunches and other meals served by the district.
Nurses are available in almost every elementary school, and a few high school locations throughout the district. Public health nurses from the School Health Program of the Cincinnati Health Department provide the skills to manage resources and coordinate health services.
Some of the responsibilities of the school nurse include: identifying student health problems that may affect school performance; working with families to ensure that student health problems get resolved and helping them remove barriers to health care such as lack of insurance, transportation issues and lost work time; and developing health plans for students with chronic illnesses.
Many nursing tasks focus on prevention. Nurses give vision, dental and hearing screenings as well as immunizations to keep students healthy. Another important component to the school nurse program is health education in the classroom on such topics as "Cover Your Cough" and "Handwashing."
CPS, always mindful of serving healthy meals, crafted its Wellness Policy with input from our nutritionists with the district's Food Services Department and from parents and community members. It sets nutrition standards for all food sold in the schools during the school day.
Some of the changes, reflected on menus since August 2006, include serving only baked french fries, offering more varieties of salads and changing recipes to use healthier ingredients.
District policies covers vending machines too. All vending machines not operated by Food Services must be set on timers for vending only after the school day. All food and beverages sold in school vending machines and school stores must be in compliance with the district's nutritional guidelines.
Cincinnati Public Schools has adopted the Alliance for a Healthier Generation's School Beverage and Competitive Food Guidelines to help combat childhood obesity, a problem that affects one in three kids and teens in the U.S.
The district is committed to improving the nutritional quality of school snack foods and beverages by providing more nutritious options with less calories in cafeterias, school stores, snack carts and vending machines during and after the school day.
School stores and vending machines only offer age-appropriate portion sizes that limit total calories.
Each school creates its own wellness procedures that build on — and can go beyond — the district's policy. Schools can set standards for the food offered in classroom parties, and create opportunities for students to exercise such as walking clubs and jump-rope teams.
For example, the School Wellness Team at AMIS launched a "Biggest Loser" contest among the school's staff. Created in partnership with the American Heart Association, each participating team is meeting its weight-loss goal through healthier eating and exercise. Because of the enthusiasm among the staff, the healthy habits also are taking off with the students.
Visitors to CPS' schools should note that the Wellness Policy also prohibits smoking anywhere on CPS' property. This is a stricter policy than previous rules, which banned smoking only inside CPS' buildings.
Cincinnati Public Schools is the first school district in the nation to provide opportunities for its students, ages 6 to 12, to experience Clever Crazes for Kids (CCK). The program is designed to be a safe and fun place for young people to learn more about healthy living. Learn more about Clever Crazes.
Health and Wellness Resources
Nutrition Standards provides guidelines and a list of allowable beverages and snacks