In spring 2012 a targeted group of Kealing students had the opportunity to participate in an innovative pilot called “For the Health of It.” The pilot was designed for students who had been identified with a BMI of great than 95% during Fitnessgram testing. The purpose of the pilot was to offer students and their families support and options for improving their health. Before beginning the program, a school nurse visited with each student and parent to assess their readiness to participate in the pilot. Additionally, each student was required to obtain a physical from his or her medical provider. If the student did not have a medical provider the school nurse assisted the family with locating resources to obtain a physical.
Kealing staff met with Student Health Services to determine how they could support “For the Health of It” participants including the school administrator, counselors, physical education teacher, food nutrition services supervisor, parent support specialist, school nurse, Dr. Stephen Pont, Medical Director for Student Health Services, Tracy Lunoff, Health Services Administrator Supervisor, and Michele Rusnak, Physical Education Supervisor. Each partner agreed to spend time with the students either individually or as a group throughout the program.
The program lasted 10 weeks. Students met with the nurse or one of the other lead partners, to receive information on a variety of health and wellness topics including physical moving, nutrition, mind/emotion, and health and wellness. The physical education teacher developed 20 minute sessions that included creative ways of encouraging students to engage in physical activity. The parent support specialist organized a community health fair and the physical education teacher organized a “For the Health of It” night. Parents were encouraged to participate in these programs so they could learn how to support their child to become more active, decrease time in front of computer and television, and making healthy food choices as a family.
Each student participating in “For the Health of It” received a list of community resources to assist them with adopting healthy lifestyles. These resources included programs such as Mend, Healthy Living, Healthy Life, Travis County Nutrition class, and Kealing Bike Club. Information was provided on community gardens. Fiesta grocery provided tips on reading labels and making healthy choices at the grocery store.
Student evaluations demonstrated that students enjoyed the program and found it helpful. Student Health Services hopes to expand this successful program to other schools in the near future