Promoting Healthy Lifestyles
Cincinnati Public Schools is promoting healthy lifestyles by encouraging such habits as eating healthier foods and getting 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 Cincinnati Public Schools 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.
School Nurses and School-based Health Centers
Health forms are sent home with students at the start of each school year. They are available in school offices or you can download health forms from our Forms page.
Nurses are available in almost every CPS elementary school, and in some high school buildings, and CPS provides School-based Health Centers at 21 sites around the district, to help make sure our students have access to medical care.
Public health nurses from the School Health Program of the Cincinnati Health Department provide the skills to manage resources and coordinate health services at the schools.
Responsibilities of school nurses include:
- Identifying student health problems that may affect school performance
- Working with families to ensure that health problems are resolved and helping families remove barriers to health care such as lack of insurance, transportation issues and lost work time
- 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 proper 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 offer only 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.
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.