An online newsletter produced by EdSource
with support from The California Endowment 


Nov. 4, 2013 Issue 9

Dear Friends:

Welcome to our latest issue of EdHealth!


In our work, we take a broad look at various aspects of student wellness -- from more traditional health issues, such as obesity and fitness, to those that contribute to a student's emotional well being, including teaching social skills and conflict resolution strategies in the classroom.  


Please let us know about any student wellness issues and upcoming events you think deserve greater coverage. And if you have not yet subscribed to EdHealth, please click here


Best regards,





Louis Freedberg

Executive Director


Fighting Obesity
More teens drinking sugary beverages, study finds
A student at Oakland Technical High School drinks a Slurpee bought off-campus during lunch. Credit: EdSource Today, Jane Meredith Adams 

As the clock ticks toward a 2014 federal ban on the sale of sports drinks at high schools, California teenagers are showing an increasing fondness for the sugary beverages, with an alarming 23 percent increase in the consumption of sports and energy drinks since 2005, according to a new study. 


At the same time, consumption of sugary drinks by young children is declining sharply, according to the study by researchers at the California Center for Public Health Advocacy and the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. The study tracked youth consumption of the beverages from 2005 to 2012.


Both trends - the surge in teens guzzling sugary drinks and the drop in consumption for younger children - are tied to regulations governing the sale of the beverages in California schools, said Harold Goldstein, executive director of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy. Edsource reports.  



Healthy Schools: Parent Participation, Student Fitness and Counseling for Truant Students 
Parents push for more prominent place at school budget table

One in three students makes the grade in state fitness test

Counseling, not fines reduces truancy ticketing at LAUSD
Four months into the rollout of the new state education funding law, parent leaders across California are trying to ensure that "local control" over school spending truly includes parents.


Parent engagement is considered a critical part of a positive school climate, which measures whether parents and students feel safe and socially connected to school. The law, known as the Local Control Funding Formula, includes school climate as one of
eight key state education priorities. 
EdSource reports. 

Only one in three California students earned a "fit" rating in the annual physical fitness test given to more than 1 million fifth, seventh and ninth grade students, according to 2012-13 test results.


About 26 percent of fifth graders, 32 percent of seventh graders, and 37 percent of ninth graders scored in the "Healthy Fitness Zone," as defined by the creators of the California Fitness Test. Results by county, school, gender, ethnicity and socio-economic level are available here. 

EdSource reports.  

Instead of getting citations, many truant students in the Los Angeles Unified School District now are referred to one of 13 city youth centers for counseling and other services aimed at addressing the physical, mental health and learning issues that may contribute to truancy. The result: A new report by the Community Rights Campaign shows that district police issued dramatically fewer citations for truancy this past school year compared with the year before. Disparities in citation rates among ethnic groups remain.
EdSource reports.
Webinar: Social-Emotional Learning and Common Core Success

As school districts reconsider teaching practices and curricula in light of the new Common Core standards, WestEd is hosting a webinar that links social skills, literacy development and Common Core standards.  


According to WestEd, the webinar titled "Social-Emotional Learning Integrated with Academic Literacy Equals Secondary Students' Common Core Success" will discuss how to give students the experiences that build emotional resilience, academic confidence and meaningful understanding of material. Register here for the webinar on Thursday, November 7, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. PT. A video of webinar will be archived. 


In the news

Screen Time, Recess Equipment and Poverty and the Brain

Pediatricians call for limits on kids' screen time
Equipment, encouragement gets kids active during recess
Nurturing may protect kids from brain changes tied to poverty
The American Academy of Pediatrics has called for a two-hour limit to screen time for children, citing health and safety risks tied to excessive use of media, such as obesity, sleep deprivation, exposure to fast-food advertising and texting while driving. The policy statement, which was included in the November issue of Pediatrics, asked doctors to educate school officials about evidence-based health risks associated with unsupervised, unlimited media access.

Encouraging students to play and providing them with sports equipment increased activity levels for elementary school children at recess by as much as 40 percent, according to a study published in October in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Simply making sure children had bats and balls during recess improved their activity levels. In addition, having students stand and stretch in brief classroom exercise breaks during the day also increased activity levels at recess, the study found.


The stress of poverty in early childhood is evident in brain development by school age, according to a new study published in the November issue of JAMA Pediatrics. In the longitudinal study, researchers used brain scans to show the impact of poverty on areas of the brain associated with learning, memory and emotional regulation. But researchers also found that a nurturing parent or caregiver may prevent some of the harmful changes in brain anatomy. 


Recent Editions of the EdHealth Newsletter:

EdHealth Newsletter Issue 8: Free lunch sign-ups crucial to school funding
EdHealth Newsletter Issue 7: Lunch tally triggers dispute with districts
EdHealth Newsletter Issue 6: Tracking the impact of anti-bullying programs

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