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Week of 12/20/10: Healthy schools highlights

Chicago adding in-school health centers

The Chicago Tribune examines the addition of health centers in the city’s schools.

At first glance, this health care center on the city’s Northwest Side looks like any other facility offering medical care to young patients: In the waiting area, children will find a basket of books on a small table, toys on the floor and a chalkboard. But the facility is inside Hibbard Elementary School in Albany Park and is the latest health center to debut inside a Chicago Public Schools facility.

In St. Paul schools, the not-so-sweet life

The Minneapolis Star Tribune takes a look at the St. Paul school district’s attempts to make all public schools “sweet-free zones” by the end of the school year.

Jill Gebeke made it a habit to reward herself with a small piece of chocolate after lunch every day. It’s hard work being a school principal, after all. But the chocolate rewards ended last month when some first- and second-graders caught her. “I thought you said this was a sweet-free zone,” they reminded her.

Colorado Action for Healthy Kids launches Parent Network

Colorado Action for Healthy Kids launched a new Parent Network last month at its first School Wellness Roundtable at the Oxford Hotel in downtown Denver. Sixty-three parents and guests from 10 school districts came together to share resources, success stories and inspiration related to the school wellness work they are doing in their local school communities. Keynote speaker Rainey Wikstrom shared her own journey as a school wellness parent champion along with tips for creating a healthy school environment most effectively. Read this story about her in EdNews Parent.

During the roundtable, 34 parents signed up to be Action for Healthy Kids “School Champions” in their districts. To learn more about becoming an Action for Healthy Kids School Champion, visit this webpage or send an e-mail to A team leadership meeting will be held Jan. 24 for all School Champions or Parent Network members.

EdNews Parent expert publishes book

Word. Hammerstein is a nutritionist, speaker and global health advocate. Her book, “Fat is Not a Four-Letter Word: 14 Daily Lessons to Break Through Your “Fat Kid Mentality” and Keep the Weight Off For Life!” offers an approach to weight loss that goes beyond dieting and deprivation, and embraces the desires and needs of the human body and spirit. We appreciate the time Julie has put into coming up with thoughtful responses to parent questions on this site. Congratulations, Julie. Read her EdNews Parent posts here.

Bike lanes to connect nine Aurora schools

The Aurora Sentinel reports on a new plan that will make nine Aurora schools more biker-friendly.

City council members moved forward Monday with a plan to implement bicycle lanes that will connect nine Aurora schools. In a unanimous vote at their regular session, they approved a contract with Denver-based RoadSafe Traffic Systems, in the amount of about $108,000 to work on the project. The bike lanes will run along portions of Moline Street, Exposition Avenue, Florida Avenue and Troy Street.

The project is one of 14 projects funded with stimulus money received from an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant through the federal Department of Energy. The cost of the project was below the $166,000 originally estimated.

Parents have less sway over kids’ diets than expected

The Kansas City Star looks at what it takes to change kids’ eating habits from bad to good.

Susanna DeRocco uses homegrown vegetables in meals that her two young sons help prepare. She helps the boys understand food labels and decode messages from advertisers. She supports improvements in school lunches. With a little effort, she says, parents can lay a solid foundation that helps their kids make good food decisions for the rest of their lives.

Breast feeding benefits boys’ brains

Read this story about the new research on the benefits of breast feeding. Breast feeding for at least six months has been associated with enhanced immunity and other benefits for children – but a prospective study from Australia suggests breast feeding may also yield academic benefits later in a child’s life, at least for boys.

Teens helping teens with mental health issues

The Philadelphia Inquirer looks at a new program for teens facing mental health issues.

Francesca Pileggi begins her presentation with a photograph of herself, circa age 5, on the first day of school. The look on her face: utter horror. It’s normal to be anxious at such a time, but Pileggi’s anxiety ruled her life. When teachers called on her, her throat closed. When she played sports, she’d freeze. Her panic attacks were so severe that she sometimes vomited.

Editor’s note: There won’t be a healthy schools highlights post next week as the EdNews Parent offices will be closed for the holidays.

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