Schools play a critical role in promoting the health of young people and helping them establish lifelong healthy behaviors, from early child care through college. Proper nutrition and regular physical activity improves academic performance.
- Students who participate in the USDA School Breakfast Program have better grades and test scores and less absenteeism.
- Physical activity has been linked to better grades, cognitive performance and classroom behavior.
More than two-thirds of Vermont children under the age of 6 will spend time in a child care program. Meeting nutritional and physical activity standards is critical to development as the first three years of life are the period of most rapid brain and body growth. Modeling and helping children build a foundation of healthy habits increases the likelihood they will continue those practices as they grow up.
Concerned parents made a case for the importance of adequate lunchtimes with Stowe school administrators, who were quick to respond. Administrators surveyed the needs of the middle school students, and decided to expand school lunches to 20 minutes. There are no standards about the length of lunch periods, and school districts make their own decisions. This district listened, and made a policy based on the needs of its students.
Putney Central School takes seriously the growing link between physical activity and academic performance. Matt Bristol, Physical Educator and School Champion, became a CDC funded Physical Activity Leader who creates active environments for all students to get moving 60 minutes a day. At Putney Central School this includes the Wake Up Workout Program (physical activity before school), Mountain Bike Program, Winter Sports Program, and Staff Wellness Program.