“The Healthy Oklahoma Schools Manual is a comprehensive guide intended to provide guidance and resources to Oklahoma schools, in particular Healthy & Fit School Advisory Committees, to improve school health policies and programs. This publication can help local schools integrate health program components into the academic structure of their schools and can be used by groups or individuals (school administrators, classroom teachers, physical education teachers, school counselors, school nurses, health care professionals, parents, students, and community members) who are interested in improving the health of children and youth.
The Healthy Oklahoma Schools Manual was created to ultimately benefit the health, well-being and learning of all students.
Research shows a direct relationship between the health of young people and academic achievement. Healthier students have a greater ability to concentrate, lower absenteeism, better productivity, fewer discipline problems, higher test scores, and better classroom participation. The influence of health on school success should not be underestimated.
Data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) should alert us. Oklahoma students engage in risky health behaviors such as not wearing a seat belt, binge drinking, smoking, unhealthy eating, little or no physical activity, violence, unprotected sex, and drug use. Beyond health and academic consequences, student health problems such as childhood obesity, malnutrition, asthma, injury and other chronic diseases take an economic toll on schools. Schools bear the costs of providing extra resources and staff time to those students whose academic performance and/or behavior suffers because of health problems.
Improving student wellness helps students succeed in school. It is critical that schools promote health and wellness. Failure to do so may undermine schools’ overall goal to provide high quality education for all students.
Oklahoma Schools should utilize their Healthy & Fit School Advisory Committees to help foster family and community support and involvement in developing and implementing school health policies and programs. Students are most influenced to lead healthy and productive lives when the schools, parents, and other community groups work collaboratively. Each of these groups has unique roles for accessing students, identifying and sharing resources, and impacting health behaviors of children and youth. Health & Fit School Advisory Committees can serve as a catalyst for systemic changes in schools to promote student health and educational outcomes.”