Impact Story

Healthy Schools Pilot Program

Long-Term Outcomes

  • Improve High School Graduation
  • Improve Healthy Weight Rate

A Healthy Schools pilot program was launched in five Polk County Elementary Schools during the 2017- 2018 school year. The pilot was inspired by a nationally recognized evidence-based model emphasizing the benefits of integrating health and education in the school setting.

With the goal of improving student health and academic achievement, each Healthy School implemented one or more tactics tied to increasing the consumption of nutrient dense foods and/or increasing physical activity.

Children often cannot differentiate between healthy and unhealthy foods. Nutrition education is focused on the importance of eating five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. When young children are exposed to lessons and activities that focus on eating fruits and vegetables, their intake of these nutritious foods increases significantly.

Did you know?

Only 1 out of every 3 children are physically active every day

1 out of every 3 children are overweight or obese

Only 1 in 2 children eat enough
daily fruits and vegetables

(Alliance for a Healthier Generation)

The pilot was created to address the alarming rate of overweight and obese students in Polk County. Family and community involvement in schools is important to the academic achievement, social/ emotional development and overall health of students. When schools engage families in meaningful ways, families in turn can support and reinforce healthy behaviors at home. Community agencies and volunteer groups can provide valuable resources to enhance student health and learning outcomes through after school and organized off-campus activities.

The coming year will find the Team with continued emphasis on increasing physical activity and improved nutrition. Focus will be placed on strengthening the pilot schools’ campus and community network and implementing strategies to improve the overall Healthy School environment. The Team plans to expand its efforts to include social- emotional health initiatives at each of the pilot schools.

Students, parents, volunteers and faculty participated during National Walk & Bike to School Day at Wahneta Elementary School.

2018-2019 Healthy School Pilot Strategies

The 2018-2019 school year marked the second year of the Healthy Schools pilot aimed at improving student health and academic achievement. Each Healthy School implemented tactics to increase the consumption
of healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables combined with increased physical activity.

Recognizing that every school has a unique set of circumstances, flexibility in adopting a range of strategies was encouraged so that school leaders and staff could best serve the needs of their students and families.

Highland City Elementary

  • Nutrition Lessons
  • Bike Rodeo and Helmet Fitting
  • National Walk & Bike to School Day
  • 5-2-1-0 Lesson and Campaign

Inwood Elementary

  • Breakfast in the Classroom
  • Vegetable of the month
  • Bike Rodeo and Helmet Fitting
  • National Walk & Bike to School Day
  • 5-2-1-0 Lesson and Campaign

Medulla Elementary

  • School Garden
  • Brain Breaks
  • National Walk & Bike to School Day • 5-2-1-0 Lesson and Campaign

Padgett Elementary

  • Brain Breaks
  • Nutrition Lessons
  • National Walk & Bike to School Day
  • 5-2-1-0 Lesson and Campaign

Wahneta Elementary

  • Morning Mile
  • Nutrition Lessons
  • Brain Breaks
  • Pulse Check Lesson
  • Food Nutrition Labels Lesson
  • Lunch Bunch – SEL Goals
  • National Walk & Bike to School Day
  • 5-2-1-0 Lesson and Campaign

Video update on the progress of the pilot programs at the 5 Healthy Schools.

BayCare’s Children’s Wellness and Safety Center wishes to express its gratitude to Polk Vision for opening doors for us in the community and the Polk County School District. With their assistance we have made great strides in educating families on the importance of physical activity and nutrition. We look forward to continuing the partnership in an effort to create a healthier Polk County!

COLETTE O’KEEFFE-BOGGS, Senior Children’s Wellness and Safety Specialist, BayCare – St. Joseph’s Children’s Wellness and Safety Center

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