Magazine article State Legislatures

There's No Place like School for Good Health

Magazine article State Legislatures

There's No Place like School for Good Health

Article excerpt

Seven years ago, almost half of West Virginia's high school students smoked, eight out of 10 had tried alcohol and almost two-thirds were having sex. Many dropped out of school before graduating. Part of the problem was that they just weren't getting regular health care. Their families were poor - one in four lived below the poverty line - and they didn't have health insurance. Even with insurance, many kids couldn't make it to the doctor's office. Parents couldn't leave work for appointments, the clinic was far away and in rural areas doctors were few and far between.

West Virginia responded to these problems with the School Health Initiative, a successful combination of communitywide health education and school or nearby wellness centers. The goal of the initiative is to catch health problems early, teach kids and their families how to be healthy and give them access to health services. Funding has come from state and federal sources, the Benedum Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Today, West Virginia kids seem to be healthier and doing better in school. While it's too soon to measure the initiative's impact on health, there's cause for optimism according to a recent report on the program, Ensuring a Healthy Future: The West Virginia School Health Initiative. The number of kindergartners through eighth graders who passed the President's Physical Fitness Test is up from 17.7 percent in 1991 to 22.3 percent in 1996. Schools with clinics are reporting less absenteeism. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.