By Shaw, Steven
National Association of School Psychologists. Communique , Vol. 41, No. 1
The summer issue of School Psychology Forum is dedicated to wellness issues in schools. The focus on wellness is a critical factor in improving academic functioning and socioemotional skills.
"The Link Between Obesity and Academics: School Psychologists' Role in Collaborative Prevention" by Scott R. McCarthy, Lindsay M. Fallon, and Lisa M. Hagermoser Sanetti presents excellent information on the state of the field and specific information required to implement obesity intervention programs. Childhood obesity is linked to an increased risk for negative physical, social, emotional, and academic outcomes. As obesity affects one in every six school-age children and may negatively affect academic achievement, schools are perhaps the setting best suited to offer collaborative services aimed at preventing and/orreducing the childhood obesity epidemicandassociatednegative outcomes. School psychologists have the relevant skills to coordinate obesity prevention, screening, and intervention efforts and are thus called upon to begin addressing this epidemic through coordinated efforts among school personnel. An overview of the current state of childhood overweight and obesity is provided, along with a review of evidence-based screening, assessment, prevention, and intervention practices for school settings. In addition, strategies and resources are provided to inform practitioners how they can best coordinate efforts in their districts. Implications for school-based practice are discussed.
"Yoga as an Intervention for Asthma" by Melissa A. Bray, Kari A. Sassu, Vineeta Kapoor, Suzanne Margiano, Heather L. Peck, Thomas J. Kehle, and Robin Bertuglia is an innovative approach to ameliorating the most common chronic health problems among school children. Asthma is a common chronic respiratory disease of childhood. Symptoms include airway irritability, constriction, inflammation, accelerated respiration, congestion, wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness. Episodes maybe triggeredby exercise, allergens, cold air, infections, and psychological stressors. Asthmatics display distortions of posture involving various muscles of the face, neck, chest, and the respiratory tract. In the current study, yoga was employed as the treatment due to the effects of psychological stressors on the symptoms of asthma, the muscle involvement of the condition, and the evidence suggesting yoga affects both musculature and emotions. A multiple baseline design employing yoga as an intervention to increase lung functioning and happiness as well as decrease anxiety was investigated using three school-age children with chronic asthma. Results, based on the effect sizes, indicated slight but measureable improvement in lung functioning as well as improvement in happiness. …