From the President

Back to School – A Time of Ingenuity, Inventiveness & Learning or a Period of Risk

By Phyllis J. Sloyer, RN, PhD, PAHM, FAAP

I firmly believe that a good education is the primary bell weather of a successful future. The toddler has become a child and its time to venture into a new world and it seems as though school-aged children and youth are invincible. How remarkable to watch the child process complex information; ponder the events in the world and form peer relationships that may last a lifetime.

Of course, the ability to learn and interact with others is also influenced by the health status of the child and the social factors that present risks to educational achievement. Unfortunately, 2008 data from CDC indicates that 3% of America’s children miss 11 or more days of school due to illness or injury. The media frequently points out the growing number of children who are overweight or obese. We also know that adolescents ages 13-17 are vulnerable to risky behaviors, including substance and alcohol abuse and depression. Finally, children with special health care needs require special accommodations in order to be fully integrated in today’s classroom.  

It is of no surprise that school health is a vital service in keeping a child healthy and promoting healthy behaviors. Promoting healthy behaviors, looking for signs and symptoms of depression as well as behavioral issues, improving physical fitness and mental alertness, promoting positive development, and accommodating a child’s special health care needs are important school health functions. This issue will provide you with data, recent trends and school health programs, and real life stories about the world children live in when they go to school. I find nothing quite so important as a successful educational achievement and the world it opens for our children. Enjoy this issue!