More than 95 percent of American youth aged five to seventeen are enrolled in school. No other institution outside the home has as much continuous and intensive contact with children during this pivotal time in their development. Schools that promote good nutrition, physical activity, and healthy weights among children through healthful school meals and foods, physical education programs and recess, classroom health education, and school health services, can go a long why in preventing childhood overweight and its related health problems.
It is difficult to get data on the prevalence of childhood obesity and individual children are often not routinely measured. There is no coordinated statewide surveillance system for all of Arizona's children's heights and weights. Many school districts have reduced or eliminated school nurses. Changes in body mass index (BMI) are not tracked on individual or community levels.
Potential Policy Improvements
Bring physical education back into the non-elective curriculum: Require schools to provide regular physical education to teach kids how to develop lifelong healthy habits. To maximize these effects in might be prudent to require certified physical education teachers
Increase available or mandatory time for physical activity.
Fund one school nurse for every 750 students and measure heights and weights for every child, tracking them from year to year.
Many improvements possible for food service. Refer to Food Environments issues.