Approximately 1 in 3 of Idaho’s youth are overweight or obese. In the past 30 years, obesity in school age children has increased from 7%-18% for ages 6-11 and from 5% to nearly 21% for ages 12-19. Because of this evident obesity epidemic, obesity prevention efforts need to be implemented at an early age. And, since children spend most of their day at school, it is an excellent setting to target those initiatives and develop children’s health and wellbeing early. If kids are exposed to healthy eating lessons and environments during the school day, they are more likely to develop sound nutritional habits that will last a lifetime. Similarly, if kids are given the opportunity to learn about physical activity and develop a love for being active, they are more likely to continue being active throughout their entire lives.
Not only is good nutrition and physical activity beneficial for the health of our youth, but it also has been proven to help with their academic success, attendance at school, and behavior in the classroom. These are all results that any educator would like to see in their students.
IPAN is partnering with the Idaho State Department of Education to promote healthy eating and physical activity in Idaho schools. This partnership focuses on providing professional development and technical assistance opportunities for school staff, as well as one on one guidance to school wellness councils in developing and implementing their district-wide school wellness policies.