A Return to School Health: Opportunities for Prioritizing Student Health in the Upcoming School Year
Student development of and participation in healthy behaviors such as physical activity, healthy eating, and mental health programs are important components of comprehensive school programming. Engagement in these activities can also be predictive of academic and health outcomes. Schools and school districts can prioritize health behaviors in a variety of ways, including in their policies and in their district wide health agendas.
This presentation will share some recent research about how school districts in Texas are prioritizing health and offer suggestions on ways districts and schools can improve their school health environment. Specifically, Dr. Szeszulski will talk about comprehensive school health programs and share information about the types of health topics included in schools’ campus improvement plans. Ms. Iyer will discuss urban-rural differences in district level school wellness policies and resources for implementing those policies. Dr. Rolke will present information about the types of individuals involved in assessing district health policies and how that relates to the comprehensiveness of the policy. Finally, Mrs. Smith will share new resources for School Health Advisory Councils that can be used in developing better comprehensive school health programs.
Jacob Szeszulski, PhD – Assistant Professor at the Institute for Advancing Health Through Agriculture at Texas A&M AgriLife Research
Swati Iyer – Medical Student at Texas A&M University
Laura Rolke, PhD – Post-doctoral Researcher at the Institute for Advancing Health Through Agriculture at Texas A&M AgriLife Research
Michelle Smith – Texas State Coordinator for Action for Healthy Kids and Chair of the Texas SHAC Network