Health, Physical Education, & School Wellness
Healthy Schools, Success-Ready Students
Evidence shows that the health of students is strongly linked to their success in school. Healthy students are better on all levels of academic achievement – academic performance (class grades, standardized tests, graduation rates), education behavior (attendance, dropout rates, and behavioral problems in schools, and cognitive skills and attitudes (concentration, memory, and mood). The healthy development of children and adolescents is influenced by many societal institutions.Students spend much of their time at school, making it an ideal setting to teach and model healthy behaviors. School health programs and policies has proven to be one of the most efficient means to prevent or reduce risk behaviors and prevent serious health problems among students. Schools can reduce how often students are absent, experience behavioral problems, and achieve higher school-wide test scores and grades by implementing strategies to help students stay healthy. School health has four interrelated goals shown below:
- Improve health knowledge, attitudes, and skills
- Improve health behaviors and health outcomes
- Improve educational outcomes
- Improve social outcomes
These goals are most effectively and efficiently achieved when all the goals are addressed simultaneously through a coordinated approach requiring action from the entire community – state public health education agencies, school districts, parents, and students. Evidence-based strategies, tools, and resources to promote healthy behaviors in young people and to create a healthy school environment can be found on the CDC Healthy Schools website. By all stakeholders working together, we can ensure that our youth are healthy and ready to learn.
- Health and Academics (CDC)
- Healthy Students Are Better Learners (CDC-DASH)
- Brain Rules – Dr. John Medina
- Spark – John Ratey M.D.
- Health Education
- School Wellness
- Whole Child (WSCC)
- State Health Data
- Physical Education & Physical Activity
- Prof. Dev.
- School Climate/Environment
Health education provides students with experiences and opportunities to acquire the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary for making health-promoting decisions, achieving health literacy, adopting health-enhancing behaviors, and promoting the health of others. Comprehensive school health education includes curricula for students in pre-K through grade 12 that address a variety of topics such as alcohol and other drug use and abuse, healthy eating/nutrition, mental and emotional health, personal health and wellness, physical activity, safety and injury prevention, sexual health, tobacco use, and violence prevention. Health education curricula and instruction should address the National Health Education Standards (NHES) and incorporate the characteristics of an effective health education curriculum.
Health Education Resources
- National Health Education Standards – offer a coherent vision of what it means to be health literate. These Standards describe the knowledge and skills essential to the development of health literacy.
- Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT) - The HECAT can help school districts, schools, and others conduct a clear, complete, and consistent analysis of health education curricula. It reflects current research in health education and uses science to improve health education practices.
- Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT) e-Learning – this course will help participants identify components of the HECAT and use it in conjunction with a team, to conduct a review of a health education curriculum.
- Characteristics of Effective Health Education
- Missouri Health Education Grade Level Expectations
- SHAPE America Health Education Resources
- Society For Public Health Education (SOPHE)
Laws and Mandates
Senate Bill 711 – Section 170.310, RSMo - Effective August 2017
House Bill 501 – Section 170.015, RSMo – Effective August 2015
Helpful resources to assist implementation.
- Cyberbullying (definitions, prevention, and reporting)
- Anti-Cyberbullying Toolkit
- Safe Internet Surfing
- Sexting: How Teens Can Stay Safe
- Missouri Center for Education Safety
Healthy Youth Sites
- Bam! Body and Mind
- Fit WebMD
- Food Champs
- Lift-Off!’s Playground
- USDA Choose MyPlate
- Nourish Interactive
Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 - Summary of Final Rule
A local school wellness policy is a written document of official policies that guide a local educational agency (LEA) or school district’s efforts to establish a school environment that promotes students’ health, well-being, and ability to learn by supporting healthy eating and physical activity.
The Local School Wellness Policy requirement was established by the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004, and further strengthened by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. It requires each local LEA participating in the National School Lunch Program and/or School Breakfast Program to develop a local school wellness policy that promotes the health of students and addresses the growing problem of childhood obesity. The responsibility for developing a local school wellness policy is placed at the local level so the unique needs of each school under the jurisdiction of the LEA can be addressed.
Through a coordinated approach that includes school teachers, health and counseling services, district nutrition services, administration, parents, students and community members. Research has shown that strong school wellness councils that guide the implementation of systemic health programs and policies can reduce the prevalence of health risk behaviors among young people and have a positive effect on academic performance.
Model Wellness Policies, Practices, & Assessments
Missouri School Board Association (MSBA)
Missouri Consultants for Education (MCE)
Alliance for a Healthier Generation (AHG)
School Assessments and Planning Guides
- School Health Index
- School Health Index e-learning course
- Wellness School Assessment Tool (WellSAT)
- Health & Wellness into School Improvement Plans (NACDD)
- Achieving Impact: School Nutrition, Physical Education, Physical Activity, and Management of Chronic Health Conditions in Schools (NACDD)
Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC)
The Whole Child
School's, health agencies, parents and communities share a common goal of supporting the health and academic achievement of adolescents. Research shows that the health of students is linked to their academic achievement. Schools are recognized as a perfect setting for this collaboration and most efficient for providing health services and programs to children and youth, as approximately 95 percent of all U.S. children and youth attend school. The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model emphasizes a systems approach that works together integrating health services and programs more deeply into the day-to-day life of schools and students to raise academic achievement and improve learning. To learn more visit:
- WSCC Fact Sheet (CDC)
- WSCC Model: A Guide to Implementation (NACDD)
- Virtual Healthy School (CDC)
- Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) - (CDC)
These services are designed to ensure access or referral to primary health care services or both, foster appropriate use of primary health care services, prevent and control communicable disease and other health problems, provide emergency care for illness or injury, promote and provide optimum sanitary conditions for a safe school facility and school environment, and provide educational and counseling opportunities for promoting and maintaining individual, family, and community health. Qualified professionals such as physicians, nurses, dentists, health educators, and other allied health personnel provide these services.
- DESE Student Health and Wellness
- MO School Nurse Link – School nurses can easily navigate this site to find information to support care of students, especially those with chronic conditions. This link connects to all schools (public, charter and private with resources offered by Medicaid health plans in Missouri. Together, these plans cover about 500,000 children across the state, located in every community.CDC School Health Services
- Managing Asthma: A Guide For Schools (DHSS)
- Click here for listing of MO Local Public Health Agencies
- Click here for MO School Health (DHSS)
- MO Kids Count Data
Schools should provide access to a variety of nutritious and appealing meals that accommodate the health and nutrition needs of all students. School nutrition programs reflect the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans and other criteria to achieve nutrition integrity. The school nutrition services offer students a learning laboratory for classroom nutrition and health education, and serve as a resource for linkages with nutrition-related community services. Qualified child nutrition professionals provide these services.
Counseling, Psychological, and Social Services
These services are provided to improve students’ mental, emotional, and social health and include individual and group assessments, interventions, and referrals. Organizational assessment and consultation skills of counselors and psychologists contribute not only to the health of students but also to the health of the school environment. Professionals such as certified school counselors, psychologists, and social workers provide these services.
Schools can provide opportunities for school staff members to improve their health status through activities such as health assessments, health education, and health-related fitness activities. These opportunities encourage staff members to pursue a healthy lifestyle that contributes to their improved health status, improved morale, and a greater personal commitment to the school's overall coordinated health program. This personal commitment often transfers into greater commitment to the health of students and creates positive role modeling. Health promotion activities have improved productivity, decreased absenteeism, and reduced health insurance costs.
- School Employee Wellness: A Guide for Protecting the Assets of Our Nation’s Schools
- Worksite Wellness – MO DHSS
- WorkWell Missouri Toolkit – MU Extension
- Workplace Health (AHA)
- Think Health St. Louis
- Workplace Health Promotion (CDC)
An integrated school and parent approach can enhance the health and well-being of students. Schools actively solicit parent involvement to respond more effectively to the health-related needs of students.
- Missouri PTA
- Parents for Healthy Schools Guide
- Parents for Healthy Schools e-learning series
- Parents for Healthy Schools (CDC)
- We Can! (NIH)
- Whole Family Resources (AHA)
School health advisory councils, coalitions, and broadly based constituencies for school health can build support for school health program efforts. Community based efforts also engage resources and services within schools.
State Health Data
Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS)
The Missouri Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) is conducted as part of a national effort by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) to monitor students’ health-risk behaviors in six priority areas. These six areas include injury and violence, alcohol and drug use, tobacco use, nutrition, physical activity, and sexual risk behaviors. These risk behaviors contribute to the leading causes of death, disability, and social problems among youth and adults in the U.S.
Missouri has been administering the YRBS since 1995. The survey is voluntary and is administered to a randomly selected sample of middle and high school students across the state.
For more information regarding the YRBS and for national, state, and large city survey results, please visit the CDC website.
Following are the results from the 2017 Missouri High School YRBS followed by the 2015 Middle and High School YRBS and Youth Tobacco Survey.
- 2017 MO High School Survey Summary
- 2017 MO High School Graphs
- 2017 MO High School Summary Graphs
- 2017 MO High School Summary Tables
- 2017 MO High School Trend Report 10 Years
- 2017 MO High School Trend Report
- 2015 Missouri Youth Risk Behavior and Youth Tobacco Survey Results – Middle and High School
School Health Profiles
The School Health Profiles (Profiles) is a system of surveys developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to assess school health policies and programs in states and large urban school districts. The Profiles survey is conducted in Missouri biennially among middle and high school principals and lead health education teachers.
Profiles monitor the current status of:
- School health education requirements and content
- Physical education requirements
- Health services
- Nutrition-related policies and practices
- Family and community involvement in school health programs
- School health policies on HIV and AIDS prevention, tobacco-use prevention, violence prevention, and physical activity
- Professional preparation and staff development for lead health education teachers
Profiles data is used to:
- Compare school health policies and programs across the state
- Identify health education topics and skills that are taught
- Identify topics for staff development
- Improve school health programs and policies
- Determine how well schools address the health and safety needs of their students
The following are the results from the 2016 School Health Profiles.
- Trend Analysis Report– Principal Survey
- Can the MO 17 data be compared to National Data?
- Weighted Principal Survey Results Tables Missouri 2016
- Weighted Principal Survey Results Charts Missouri 2016
- Weighted Lead Health Education Teacher Survey Results Tables Missouri 2016
- Weighted Lead Health Education Teacher Survey Charts Missouri 2016
- MO School Health Profiles: 2014 Key Findings Report
To access more information on School Health Profiles released, click here.
Use the links below to access state data:
- Click here for MO county health rankings.
- Click here for the Shape of the Nation report for Missouri.
- Click here for MO obesity rate data from Alliance for a Healthier Generation.
- Click here for MO health data from Healthy Americans.
- Click here for MO State of Obesity Data.
- Missouri Adolescent Physical Health Facts
- Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
Physical Education & Physical Activity
Physical Education should not be confused with physical activity: Understanding the Difference (SHAPE America)
Physical education is a school-based instructional opportunity for students to gain the necessary knowledge, skills and behaviors for lifelong participation in physical activity. Physical education is characterized by a planned, sequential K-12 curriculum (course of study) provides cognitive content and learning experiences in a variety of activities.
Quality physical education programs assist students in achieving the national standards for K-12 physical education. The outcome of a quality physical education program is a physically educated person who has the knowledge, skills, and confidence to enjoy a lifetime of healthful physical activity. Qualified, trained teachers teach physical education.
Physical Education Resources
- Physical Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (PECAT)
- MOAHPERD Missouri Physical Education Grade Level Expectations
- Missouri Physical Education Grade Level Expectations
- SHAPE America – Essential Components of Physical Education
- SHAPE America – Physical Education Teacher’s Toolbox
- Fitness Reporting Guidance (Core Data Screen 17) – Cades Law
- Missouri Physical Fitness Award Certificate
- Presidential Youth Fitness Program
- PYFP Physical Educator Resource Guide
- FITNESSGRAM score sheet and calculator (PYFP)
Missouri Physical Fitness Challenge Awards
- House Bill 675 (Cades Law) – Section 161.450, RSMo
- DESE Physical Fitness Award Criteria
- Missouri Physical Fitness Challenge 2016
- Missouri Physical Fitness Challenge 2015
- Missouri Physical Fitness Challenge 2012
Physical activity is bodily movement of any type and may include recreational, fitness and sport activities such as jumping rope, playing soccer, lifting weights, as well as daily activities such as walking to the store, taking the stairs or raking the leaves.
Opportunities to accumulate physical activity during the school day include time spent in physical education class, classroom-based movement, recess, walking or biking to school, and recreational sport and play that occurs before, during, and after school.
Benefits of regular physical activity:
- Helps build and maintain healthy bones and muscles.
- Helps reduce the risk of developing obesity and chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and colon cancer.
- Reduces feelings of depression and anxiety and promotes psychological well-being.
- May help improve students’ academic performance, including:
- Academic achievement and grades
- Academic behavior, such as time on task
- Factors that influence academic achievement, such as concentration and attentiveness in the classroom
Physical Activity Resources
Click here for more information from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Physical Activity in the Classroom
Classroom brain breaks are research-based and their efficacy has been scientifically proven. Brain Breaks are a quick and effective way of changing or focusing the physical and mental state of the learners in your group. They are a useful tool to use to help activate, energize and stimulate the brain that improves students’ concentration and relieve stress. The most effective brain breaks incorporate some level of physical movement in order to stimulate neurological pathways and help both hemispheres of the brain work together. Students should have a kinesthetic brain break every 25-30 minutes. Brain break activities do take about 1-3 minutes of class time to complete; however, the efficiency of our students goes up when brain breaks are incorporated. Brain breaks are refreshing for both students and teachers.
- CDC – Classroom Physical Activity
- Classroom Energizers
- Activity Breaks (AHG)
- Secondary Classroom Physical Activities (AHG)
- FUEL UP to Play 60
Physical Activity – Recess
A wide variety of professional development opportunities covering a variety of topics and concentrations are available for P-12 educators looking to refine and advance their practice. Professional development experiences come in many forms. See below for an assortment of offerings.
- 2017 ASHA Conference – October 11-13, 2017
- 2017 MOAHPERD Convention - November 10 – 12, 2017
- 2017 MCSHC Conference – Nov. 30 – Dec. 2, 2017
- 2018 SHAPE America Convention – March 20-24, 2018
- 2018 QHPE Workshops
- February 23, 2018 - EducationPlus, St. Louis, MO.
- Professional Development (SHAPE America)
A healthy and safe physical school environment promotes learning by ensuring the health and safety of students and staff. The physical school environment encompasses the school building and its contents, the land on which the school is located, and the area surrounding it. A healthy school environment addresses any biological or chemical agents that are detrimental to health, as well as the physical conditions such as temperature, noise, lighting or any other physical threats to protect all occupants.
Social and Emotional Climate
School climate refers to the psychosocial aspects of students’ educational experience that influences their social and emotional development. The climate of a school can impact student engagement in school activities; relationships with other students, staff, family, and community; and academic performance. A positive social and emotional school climate is a supportive learning environment that promotes health, growth, and development.