NASHVILLE, TN – Miami Children’s Hospital, in partnership with The School District of Palm Beach County and HealthTeacher, announced today that approximately 12,615 kindergarten through high school teachers in The School District of Palm Beach County will have access to HealthTeacher’s comprehensive on-line health education curriculum and resources with the goal of improving the health literacy of students in over 186 participating schools. The School District of Palm Beach County is the 11th largest school district in the country.
“Education and good health go hand in hand,” said Dr. Narendra Kini, President and CEO of Miami Children’s Hospital. “When children learn about health and safety practices, they are empowered to take ownership of their own health status and bring important information home to family and friends. It is our goal to advance wellness information in our area schools in hopes that these important messages will serve as building blocks for better community health.”
Miami Children’s Hospital’s tradition of service reaches far beyond the walls of the hospital. Miami Children’s Hospital believes their role as the regions largest, licensed, freestanding children’s hospital is to support the community in prevention. With HealthTeacher, Miami Children’s Hospital can teach children how to become good consumers and to practice healthy lifestyle habits they can carry with them through adulthood. By integrating HealthTeacher into every school in The School District of Palm Beach County, Miami Children’s Hospital can extend their reach beyond the efforts of their school nurse and mobile health units program.
Through underwriting the curriculum, resources and teacher training, Miami Children’s Hospital hopes to empower the teachers and their students of The School District of Palm Beach County to understand and proactively make healthier choices. Miami Children’s Hospital is underwriting HealthTeacher for five years as part of its efforts to improve the health of children and teens in Palm Beach County, and hopes to expand through out Miami-Dade and Broward Counties later in the partnership.
“It is the mission of the School District of Palm Beach County to provide our students with the best education possible. Studies have repeatedly shown the impact that health status has on student achievement,” says Superintendent Dr. Art Johnson. “If we can improve the health of our students through partnering with Miami Children’s Hospital and HealthTeacher, we have the opportunity to improve the academic achievements of the students in Palm Beach County as well. These are gifts that will last a lifetime.”
Many high-risk health behaviors often are established during childhood and adolescence, which extend into adulthood. These behaviors can be addressed and prevented with proper education. According to the Centers for Disease Control in the 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, 41.7% of Palm Beach County students did not exercise to lose weight or to keep from gaining weight and 62.1% did not eat less food, fewer calories, or low-fat foods to lose weight or to keep from gaining weight. Palm Beach County students are also:
- less likely to wear a helmet or seat belt
- more likely to smoke more than 10 cigarettes per day
- more likely to be sexually active
- less likely to eat the recommend amount of fruit or vegetables, or get the recommended amount of phyical activty for their age
According to a 2010 report by Trust for Amerca's Youth and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2010, Florida ranks 13th in the U.S. for obese and overweight children, which is higher than the state's 2009 ranking of 17. 18.3% of the states youth population ages 10 – 17 being overweight. Florida is just one of the 30 states in the study where the childhood obesity rate is reaching epidemic proportions.
Other studies show that it's not just the prevalence of childhood obesity in Palm Beach that should be a concern. According to the CDC, Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 2009, of children through age 17 in Palm Beach, Florida:
- 89.9% have rarely or never worn a bicycle helmet
- 15.4% smoked at least 1 cigarette per day and 14.8% of those smoked more than 10 cigarettes per day
- 44.2% have had at least one drink of alcohol on at least 1 day during the 30 days before the survey
- 75.9% are fruits and vegetables less than five times per day
The HealthTeacher curriculum covers 10 key topic areas designed to help students develop the knowledge and skills needed to pursue healthy lifestyles throughout their lives. Designed for K-12 teachers and students, the HealthTeacher curriculum is aligned with the National Health Education Standards and Sunshine State Standards for health education that requires instruction in five key areas:
- Mental health
- Injury prevention
- Tobacco, alcohol and drug use
About Miami Children’s Hospital
Founded in 1950 by Variety Clubs International, Miami Children's Hospital® is South Florida’s only licensed specialty hospital exclusively for children, with more than 650 attending physicians and over 130 pediatric sub-specialists. The 289-bed hospital is renowned for excellence in all aspects of pediatric medicine with several specialty programs ranked among the best in the nation in 2008, 2009 and 2010 by U.S.News & World Report. The hospital is also home to the largest pediatric teaching program in the southeastern United States and has been designated an American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet facility, the nursing profession’s most prestigious institutional honor.
HealthTeacher is a leading provider of online health, wellness and prevention education resources for kindergarten through 12th grade and is used by more than 20,000 teachers nationwide. HealthTeacher provides teachers the resources, tools and background material to educate students about making healthy lifestyle choices through more than 300 lesson plans aligning to the National Health Education Standards. HealthTeacher helps establish community-based health education collaboratives by developing partnerships between healthcare organizations, businesses, community leaders and schools to address the growing issues affecting the health status of children. To learn more, visit www.healthteacher.com
Jennifer Faught | Director, Marketing